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Old 05-01-2006, 07:54 AM   #1
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Lamictal for depression?

Hi everyone,

My doctor wants me to try Lamictal, since I haven't been able to tolerate SSRIs. But from what I've read about it, it doesn't seem like much is known about how it might work for unipolar depression. It is specifically for bipolar disorders and is an anticonvulsant. I don't really understand why my doctor would think this drug would help me.

Has anyone had any experience with this drug?

 
Old 05-01-2006, 08:53 AM   #2
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

I take Lamictal and from what I can tell, it helps me to get through all the stages of sleep that I am supposed to go through, and that helps me to be less depressed. If there are any other things it does towards that, I do not know what they are.

 
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:29 AM   #3
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

I take Lamictal for my mood swings, irritability, and outbursts due to sensory overload that all come from my Asperger's. I love Lamictal! It has really made a difference in how I'm able to tolerate annoyances in my life...
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Old 05-01-2006, 11:51 AM   #4
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Hi Oceandreams,

I have never taken Lamictal, but I have a friend that takes it for seizure control. Then I starting worrying so I looked it up. I'm glad I did.

It states that's it's used for seizures, but also as an AD. I guess some people have had great results using it for depression.

I still can't get over how shocked I was when I remember my friend took it for seizures and wasn't depressed, and you took it sort of as an AD and didn't have seizures. For a minute, I thought WOW! They're both on the wrong meds. lol I'm happy that got straightened out.

I do truly hope you can get some relief from this med. You deserve it.

Please have a good day and BE SURE to keep us posted......
Take Care.....Connie

 
Old 05-01-2006, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

I was put on mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics before I was labeled as bipolar. Back when my diagnosis was depression, anti-depressants didn't seem to help, so they tried other medications.

 
Old 05-01-2006, 03:04 PM   #6
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicSunshine
Hi Oceandreams,

I still can't get over how shocked I was when I remember my friend took it for seizures and wasn't depressed, and you took it sort of as an AD and didn't have seizures. For a minute, I thought WOW! They're both on the wrong meds. lol I'm happy that got straightened out.

I do truly hope you can get some relief from this med. You deserve it.

Please have a good day and BE SURE to keep us posted......
Take Care.....Connie
MagicSunshine, yes it is confusing. It's kind of worrisome to me that this medicine is actually meant for seizures, not for depression. Oh well, I have started taking it and will let you know how I do. Thanks for your kind words!

And thanks to everyone else for your responses.

Last edited by oceandreams; 05-01-2006 at 03:06 PM.

 
Old 05-01-2006, 03:26 PM   #7
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Almost all mood stabilizers, of which Lamictal is one, are also anti-convulsants. This is because they were designed to be anti-epileptic drugs but proved to have mood stabilizing effects. Two of the major bipolar drugs, Depakote and Tegretol, are also anti-epileptic drugs. The reason this might be is because temporal lobe epilepsy (which is very rare) has symptoms that greatly mimic those of bipolar mood swings. The temporal lobe is, after all, where the limbic system is located, the portions of the brain which control one's emotions. Don't think that since Lamictal is also classified as an anti-convulsant that it won't work for mental illnesses, or that your doctor prescribed you the wrong medication. It is first and foremost used for mood disorders, NOT seizures. Hope this helped!
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Old 05-01-2006, 03:48 PM   #8
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Gatsby, the information you gave is very helpful--it puts my mind at ease.

I guess unipolar depression is also considered a 'mood disorder'--is that right? I know this medicine was originally intended for bipolar depression, was just wondering if it's also good for just regular old depression (unipolar).

 
Old 05-01-2006, 07:44 PM   #9
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

oceandreams- Yes, unipolar depression is characterized as a mood disorder, too. SSRI's are the most common medication for unipolar depression, but since you've already tried them and haven't had success on them, the mood stabilizer would be the next option, I'd think. Many people who are bipolar only are on a mood stabilizer because they prevent future episodes of both (hypo)mania and depression, so the Lamictal should keep your unipolar depression at bay. Again, I don't have depression, but I can tell you my experience on Lamictal: this past fall, I was absolutely horrible. This is my freshman year of college, and my OCD came back with a vengeance. I had no problem leaving home- it was the drastic change, lack of a schedule here at college, and having to have a roommate and be around immature people 24-7. In October, I was having breakdowns more days than not from all of the annoyances and unstructured environment. In November, I was put on Lamictal and (thank God) got my own room, and there was a drastic change. I notice that, when I don't take my Lamictal on time, that I'll get the same gnawing irritation and "ready-to-burst-into-tears" feeling that I used to get all of the time. My CBT therapist and I realized a few months ago that I do have Asperger's in addition to my OCD, GAD, and panic attacks, and I know now that, without the Lamictal, my Asperger's symptoms here at college would be intolerable. The nice thing about the Lamictal is that it does just even me out. I'm still a moody person and everything, but my drastic ups-and-downs are no more. Since starting the Lamictal, I've only had about five-seven breakdowns here at school. Without it, I doubt I'd be functioning... I, too, have been on numerous SSRI's, mostly because SSRI's are used for the treatment of OCD, but they never helped with my mood swings or panic attacks. I don't even think they helped that much with my OCD. I just stopped weaning off my Prozac three weeks ago because it was making me sooo tired and I don't think it was helping. After all, I was up to 250 mg of Zoloft in September-October when my OCD was horrible, and I also had another breakdown in spring of 2005 when I was on an SSRI... Write back soon!
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Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 05-01-2006 at 07:46 PM.

 
Old 05-01-2006, 09:21 PM   #10
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Gatsby, thanks for sharing your story--it sounds like you have really been through it. I'm glad to hear that you're doing much better now. College is a stressful time at first, so many changes all at once.

 
Old 05-02-2006, 08:19 AM   #11
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Thanks for your concern, oceandreams. Unfortunately, I still have not completely adjusted to college life. I'd much rather be in high school where classes ended at the same time each day, I got to take the same lunch and eat it in the same order, and I got to go home and get away from the idiots...
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Old 05-02-2006, 06:52 PM   #12
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Hi Gatsby,

How long did it take before the Lamictal kicked in for you? I've been taking it for only 6 days (25 mg), but I seem to be very agitated at times, and my mood swings seem to be even worse! I suddenly started to feel real depressed after feeling anxious and agitated earlier today, now I'm finally feeling a little more even. I don't know, maybe it's not the drug but just crazy me. I'm supposed to take 25 mg for 2 weeks, then up to 50mg for 2 more weeks, then maybe just stay at 50 if it seems to be helping me. What dosage do you take?

I think you will gradually get used to your 'new life' at college, and maybe even come to love it. That is an exciting time in your life that will never happen again. I have very fond memories of my college years. Those were such interesting times compared to my boring life now.

 
Old 05-03-2006, 02:55 AM   #13
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

I'm on 100 mg of Lamictal; I have been since I started, after increasing gradually, of course. I honestly don't know when my Lamictal kicked in- I want to say three weeks or so? I was kind of oblivious to the world at that point in time, and I had gotten my own room around the same time I started the Lamictal, so I have trouble differentiating when the Lamictal started working exactly and what was attributed to getting my own room. As for growing to love college life, doubt that's going to happen. Because of my Asperger's, I don't thrive in an environment with immature people that never leave. Luckily, with the Lamictal, I can tolerate it better than I did in the fall where I was literally ready to burst with all of their shenanigans, but I still have to grit my teeth when I see clusters of "clones" around campus. I've always been very mature for my age, a loner, and not into the "in" thing, so constantly being around people that are the opposite of me isn't really ideal. Plus, some of my classes this past semester weren't even challenging, and thankfully, I had chemistry to get me through, but if I don't have something educational to throw myself into completely, my functioning ability decreases significantly. Anyway, for most people, yes, college is an exciting time full of new experiences, "finding themselves," and making new friends, but I'm not into any of that; I've been (psychologically-speaking) a full-fledged adult since ten because I had to grow up fast due to all of the emotional abuse my biological father put my mother and I through, and the Asperger's pretty much prevents me from wanting to do anything "new." We like sameness; any change is not accepted. The good thing is that I'm starting an Asperger's support group in the fall with other college students, so hopefully, I'll find someone to relate to... Write back soon!
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:32 AM   #14
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

Gatsby, that's a great idea starting the support group. I'm sure you will eventually meet many people on campus who are not immature idiots. I never had to deal with dorm life, I know I would not have liked it either.

I'm considering stopping the Lamictal. It seems to be upsetting my stomach, causing insomnia, and making me agitated. I've only been on it for a week though, so I know I shouldn't give up so easily. Did you have any early side effects that later went away?

 
Old 05-03-2006, 04:19 PM   #15
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Re: Lamictal for depression?

The support group isn't on my campus; it's an hour from my school and is formed by the Asperger's therapist I'm going to go see, but there supposedly is one girl from my college (also a freshman) who also sees this lady. I don't remember any side effects, but again, if I DID have agitation, I was so agitated when I started the medication in the first place, I wouldn't have noticed anyway! The only side effect that I get from the Lamictal is intense fatigue, but my fatigue has gotten better since I stopped the Prozac, and I've been napping less often, even though I did nap for a long time today. I actually haven't had many introductory side effects on the psychiatric medications I've taken. Zoloft did upset my stomach once in awhile and I do get dry mouth occasionally, but other than that, my only problem is the fatigue, which wouldn't really be a problem if it didn't interfere with my schoolwork; however, I've always been a procrastinator, and I've been dealing with this fatigue since the end of tenth grade, so I've learned to adapt, that and the fact that my anxiety about schoolwork has always made me put it off until the last minute in the first place... Do you have any other questions about the Lamictal, or just something else in general?
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