View Full Version : Starting to Lean Towards Bi-Polar, Not ADD, Started Lamictal


Magnet
01-05-08, 03:40 AM
Male, 30. Been diagnosed with ADD for a year, taken strattera, adderall, wellbutrin, vyvance. 2 weeks ago started lamictal but stopped because of an itchy rash.

Never ADHD as a kid, read at a 6th grade level in 1st grade, almost made gifted program, can't do a math problem to save my life but I speak intelligently so people generally regard me as such.

There is definitely a history of mental illness on my dads side of the family. My dad has "something", but he's never had it diagnosed. My mom recently told me that my grandmother (dads mom) told her that my great grandmother would lock herself in her room for a couple days at a time and come out acting just fine. Not sure if the relation is correct, but I believe my dads cousin? committed suicide. At any rate, there is reason to believe this has been swimming around the gene pool.

I've always just lived with it all, but since getting into a long term relationship I've been forced to deal with my issues, which is not necessarily a bad thing for me, but not so great for my relationship.

The ADD meds have helped some, but I still go up and down about once a week. I'll be doing fine, super motivated and the world is my oyster, then come my days off I don't want to even leave the house. It's very disruptive. I end up playing online computer games all day long, which of course feels like a great escape but it is of course an unhealthy activity. By the time my Fiance' gets home from work I still don't want to get off after playing all day and my mood isn't very chipper.

Just fired my doctor yesterday over billing issues. That made me think about the drive and parking at their office as well and I decided to find a different and closer health care provider.

Only taking 50mg of Vyvance right now after stopping the Lamictal. I don't think I had the deadly version of the rash, but I did start getting very itchy red bumps, or small red splotches around my waist and thigh, moving down to my ankles. Lamictal was the first bi-polar med I've tried, I was only on week to of my 5 week starter pack so it really didn't have much chance to take effect.

Be another 2 weeks before I can see my new doctor, so I'm sure we'll discuss the whole thing from the beginning.

At Heart
01-06-08, 10:18 AM
Hi there Magnet,

I thought I would reply by showing you what I know about Bipolar disorder (have quoted directly from NIMH)

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:


Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood
Extreme irritability
Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
Distractibility, can’t concentrate well
Little sleep needed
Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
Poor judgment
Spending sprees
A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
Increased sexual drive
Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Denial that anything is wrongA manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.
Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:


Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being “slowed down”
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Restlessness or irritability
Sleeping too much, or can’t sleep
Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attemptsA depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.
A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

I am not going to go into Bipolar I and Bipolar II - however, I know you have been mentioning "mild forms of Bi-polarism". As you can see from above, you have to have enough symptoms to meet the criteria. I am not sure that not wanting to leave the house and playing video games for a day would be considered a depressive period - but it certainly is avoidant behavior (typical of ADD or ADHD).

Anyhow, I wanted to wish you good luck with your new doctor. There are quite a few meds used for bipolar disorder, and if you do indeed have it - be prepared for a period of trial and error before they find the right "cocktail" for you. Also, bipolar disorder is typically not treated by meds alone - often therapy is indicated, particularly if the depressive episodes are severe. It is also very beneficial to learn what your symptoms are, so that you and your family can tell when you are becoming hypomanic or depressed - because as you can imagine, if you are still having wide swings in moods, the meds are not being very effective and need to be increased/decreased/or changed entirely.

Take care, and keep us informed if you would like.

At Heart

Crazywith4kids
01-09-08, 09:51 AM
Hi there Magnet,

I thought I would reply by showing you what I know about Bipolar disorder (have quoted directly from NIMH)

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:


Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood
Extreme irritability
Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
Distractibility, can’t concentrate well
Little sleep needed
Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
Poor judgment
Spending sprees
A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
Increased sexual drive
Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Denial that anything is wrongA manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.
Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:


Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being “slowed down”
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Restlessness or irritability
Sleeping too much, or can’t sleep
Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attemptsA depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.
A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

I am not going to go into Bipolar I and Bipolar II - however, I know you have been mentioning "mild forms of Bi-polarism". As you can see from above, you have to have enough symptoms to meet the criteria. I am not sure that not wanting to leave the house and playing video games for a day would be considered a depressive period - but it certainly is avoidant behavior (typical of ADD or ADHD).

Anyhow, I wanted to wish you good luck with your new doctor. There are quite a few meds used for bipolar disorder, and if you do indeed have it - be prepared for a period of trial and error before they find the right "cocktail" for you. Also, bipolar disorder is typically not treated by meds alone - often therapy is indicated, particularly if the depressive episodes are severe. It is also very beneficial to learn what your symptoms are, so that you and your family can tell when you are becoming hypomanic or depressed - because as you can imagine, if you are still having wide swings in moods, the meds are not being very effective and need to be increased/decreased/or changed entirely.

Take care, and keep us informed if you would like.

At Heart
I am bipolar and also ADD. I take Lamictal, 300 mg. per day, also I take Ambien CR for sleep, every night. It sounds to me that you have all the classic signs of being bipolar. The Lamical has helped me so much, and also, when I first started taking it I got a rash also, but my doctor just kept a check on it and it was just fine. Been taking it for about 4 years now. Good luck and hope you get to feeling better.

Tammy

Jibber
01-31-08, 01:26 AM
I have always had problems with getting into a 'funk' and can't shake it. I've also always had problems with what I term 'going loopy' which boils down to when I'm under extreme stress I overcompensate by being extremely happy, active, thoughts of grandeur (once quit a job thinking I could easily get a better one without looking first), and absolutely driving my friends berserk because I want to go, go, go and I think they must do so with me.

I also have a family history of what they call 'mental breakdowns' which I would boil down to severe depression in grandparents (all of the grandmothers) on both sides of my family. I don't suffer from depression much, just anxiety, anger, and frustration.

At any rate, I blew up at a couple of managers at work smashing a pen on the desk (it exploded all over the room) and kicking a chair as well as yelling at them. At that point (I'm now trying to do well in the career I've chosen) I said enough is enough and went to a therapist. On the first visit she said I needed to see a psych and thought I was BP. I said, but I think the problem is that I can't concentrate a lot of the time and/or motivate myself to do menial tasks - I think I'm ADD. . . she said you may have ADD as well as they can go hand-in-hand.

Long story short, I am taking Lamictal and when I got up to 100mg I could see a huge difference in my demeanor. My stress levels were much lower (I get performance awards and bonuses every year, yet always was afraid that I was going to get fired or that managers were out to get me). After my starter pack I went back and am still on the lamictal. The doc said you can increase to 200mg if you like and see if you get even more results. I started taking 150mg (splitting one in half) and haven't seen much of a difference, but I've been under enormous pressure since I upped the dose. I may up to 200mg and see how that works out (any advice from you guys on dosage would be welcome).

So, in my short period of taking this, I have seen quite a change for the good. He asked me if I wanted to try focalin because these meds really aren't doing anything form my focus (they are actually making it worse). I did and quickly stopped after three days. It was bad news for me; although, it made me calmer.

I just wanted to share my experience thus far (only 2 months) with lamictal/BP diagnosis.

I started on this forum because I was convinced (and still am not completely unconvinced) that I had ADD, not BP. Aparently, both my therapist and doc believe it is more of a BP problem. Now I feel a little bad for talking ADD talk when I may just be BP, but I think the symptoms are so similar that I can realate (even if I don't have ADD).

Sorry if I rambled!!!

-Jibber

Jibber
01-31-08, 01:27 AM
One more thing:


Tammy - have you had to up the dosage much after taking it for so long? I've read that the effects can wear off - a bit like a tolerance build up.

-Jibber

amiegrace
01-31-08, 09:23 AM
Ummm, Jibber, like you I was not completely convinced I had BP, who wants that diagnosis? But "Anger, frustration, and irritability" can be one form of both mania and depression. Mine comes in the form of a strong desire to punch people in the face when they cross me, or when I get under too much stress. I've actually had 2 manic episodes (I thought I only had one, but looking back, probably two) when I was under severe stress.

I don't know if the actual diagnosis matters as much as just getting the right treatment.

Jibber
01-31-08, 09:18 PM
I don't know if the actual diagnosis matters as much as just getting the right treatment.

I completely agree. If it helps me with road rage and manic stages. I have only had two that I can remember myself each lasting about six months and each putting me into some serious debt. Both episodes, though, were brought on by my taking anti-depressants (prozac and zoloft). I believe I've had short-lived manic stages usually in the spring, but they aren't nearly the level of what SSRIs did to me.

I absolutely get the 'punching people in the face' urge. Mine is and urge to put a big plow on my truck and take care of some folks who are not curtious drivers. Hell, I have it all planned out if armeggedon was to occur!

Just treat folks as you would like to be treated! A little respect (it goes beyond traffic, but respect/courtesy issues is what sets me off).

The only thing is that I want my focus! I cannot finish projects, etc. Anything mundane is like pulling teeth.

Tweetie411
02-10-08, 03:04 AM
It is possible to have both bipolar and adhd. I've been diagnosed with something called cobad syndrome.

SuperChan
02-11-08, 02:13 AM
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Lamictal. I just started on friday and hope that it will work well.

I too get in that funk and can feel the spiral beginning. Reading your post was like reading my own symptoms. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

When you were taking the Lamictal, how long did it take for it to seem to be working?

Jibber
02-11-08, 09:17 AM
I noticed a big difference after I titrated up to 100mg. I used the starter pack. Although, I think there was some difference at 50 and 75mg, but its hard to tell. I started to see the big picture (this is really hard for me to explain without a small novel) at 100mg. That would be about a month.

Geiri
02-11-08, 07:28 PM
My doc told me it should take 2-3 months for full effects on Lamictal.

But after 3 weeks and at only 50 mg I feel a difference. I have more positive thoughts about the future and also "auto" responses or even personality trades have changed. I often go from normal to laughing really loud like when watching a comedy show on TV, before there would just be minimum face/lip movement when something is funny. Also I catch myself acting like a happy person from time to time, simple things like humming a song or doing dance moves in the kitchen. Could it really be the drugs so early? Anybody had daily life changes like these?

It could be considered as a semi-mania sometimes, I heard it can start before stabalizing. But iI don't think its serious. I´m bipolar-II so I don't get like this often, I wonder if the drug could have some kind of "trading" effects like less depression for more manias. I've tried google searches but most researches on Lamictal seem to be focused on Bipolar-I.

amiegrace
02-11-08, 07:49 PM
GEIRI!! The exact thing has happened to me on Lamictal (I've been on it about the same amount of time as you have). I'll catch myself laughing at something and at first I'm a little confused because it's been so long since I really delighted in anything that it seems like a strange sensation. And I've been singing little happy songs occassionally too!

Gotta love Lamictal. I really hope it continues to help because I was just desperate for some relief.

Geiri
02-11-08, 08:02 PM
Ohh ok cool I´m glad to hear that.

I guess you could also look at it as a confirmation for the disorder?

SuperChan
02-11-08, 08:04 PM
I really hope I get to start laughing like you guys. I recently noticed I wasn't laughing anymore too.

Funny, how it's the little improvements we see that give us hope.

justagal
02-14-08, 06:51 PM
New here and just want to add my 2 cents b/f asking for some advice on same topic. I, too, was diagnosed ADD/bipolar. Went to Doc for severe depression and concentration issues. I have a problem with my diagnosis (Nov 2007) but that is another story, another thread.
Noneltheless, Lamictal INCREASED my anxiousness, anxiety and depression. 4 days in I told doc I was experiencing bouts of RAGE, not just anger, but flippin out. ANyway, of course another script was written for Clonopin.
I am unhappy with lamictal. Getting a second opinion next week. Either way, we all know diff meds work for diff ppl, but I did find one weird study on the drbob.org site that stated Lamictal and the Placebo had too similar results. Yet agin, though, the grand old Pharmacuetical Company prospered and it is approved for bi-polar. Just saying...it has not been a fun ride for me personally. Also another aside, if you look at the side effects of Lamictal, they actually contradict the relief I had been getting from adderall.
Forgetting words, bad focus/concentration, etc.
Best of luck. I have stayed with it for far too long and am very unhappy with that particular med.