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Re: Lamictal--Attn: Barbara Cat, Re: Li add on fluffy

Posted by Barbara Cat on July 13, 2003, at 15:32:34

In reply to Re: Lamictal--Attn: Barbara Cat, Re: Li add on, posted by fluffy on July 13, 2003, at 11:53:40

Hi Katy,
Lithium is the one med I will not be without. It's been the stabilizer I've needed my entire life. I'm not surprised you're feeling antsy on lamictal by itself. I think it's a good add-on med to brighten things up, but can't imagine being on it alone. It doesn't do a thing for hypomania. I don't know about depakote or tegretol. I tried topamax but didn't like it. Lithium started to work within 3 days of starting it. I've run out twice and didn't renew my script 'just to see if I really needed it'. I did. I take only 600mg/day and my blood levels are well below the therapeutic window. But this level works for me, probably because I'm boosting it with lamictal. The two are synergistic with each other. That's not to say that I've been depression free. My mother was killed by a car while out walking and that time was terrible for me, as it would be for anyone. But it did not morph in a mixed states agitated depression, which, before lithium, I would and things would get very bad for me.

Lithium keeps things from getting fragmented and shattered. I do not feel any of the flattening of affect or lethargy others report. It also is being shown to have neuro protective properties and stimulates growth of dendrites. The drawbacks are weight gain (sounds like you could benefit from this), slight tremors which come and go, and most importantly, thyroid problems. I already had hypothyroidism and it's gotten worse. I've doubled my thryoid medication so it's controlled, but it concerns me. So do get your thyroid levels checked regularly if you decide to go on it. Very important. Don't let your TSH values get above 3.0 (1.5 is better), no matter what your docs say (trust me on this).

Now, about your sleep question. Some people find it helpful but I can't say that lithium has affected my sleep one way or the other. Insomnia is a problem for me also as it has been all my life. I resort to Ambien every night and still have trouble falling asleep. If I can get some really good hard exercise during the day I'll drop off easier. I also take an herbal sleep product with valerian and hops, and use 3mg melatonin which helps. I've recently discovered a wonderful series of tapes/CDs by a therapist named Belleruth Naparsek who uses imagery and affirmations. I've never really taken to any others before, but she is fabulous. I listen to her 'Healing Anxiety' and 'Restful Sleep' with headphones and am usually out like a light within 5 minutes. Check her out at:

http://www.healthjourneys.com

The best tape in the series is 'Healing Trauma (PTSD)'. Layers keep shedding every time I work with it but it's definitely not sleepy time material. Keep me posted. - BarbaraCat


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