Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health disorder that impacts a person’s life in many ways. Someone with bipolar disorder will typically take some type of prescription medication to help control their symptoms. For many, the choice is Lamictal.


Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry understands the challenges of living with bipolar disorder and provides effective therapy sessions that help people gain more control. We also meet with each person we treat to determine their best options for taking medication. Our goal is to provide everyone with the right combination of multi-disciplinary therapies and any necessary prescription drugs to help them elevate their sense of joy and accomplishment in life.

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What is Lamictal?

Lamictal is the brand name for a prescription drug called Lamotrigine. It is used to treat seizure disorders like epilepsy and is taken orally once or twice per day. The medication is also used to help treat adults with bipolar disorder. It can take up to six weeks for someone taking Lamictal to feel the full effects. Usage of this drug should be monitored by a physician and not stopped without discussing this at first with them. Lamictal is available in four forms: 

  • A tablet swallowed whole
  • An oral suspension tablet that is dissolved in water or fruit juice, swallowed whole, or chewed
  • An orally disintegrating tablet that dissolves in the person’s mouth
  • An extended-release tablet 

While Lamictal is taken long-term for people who have seizure disorders, its usage for bipolar disorder should be reviewed by the prescribing physician after approximately four months and periodically after that.

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    How Does Lamictal Work?

    When used to treat bipolar disorder, Lamictal helps restore balance in the brain, which can help extend the period of time between manic and depressive episodes. However, it does not stop the actual episodes from occurring. Using Lamictal works best when used in conjunction with attending therapy sessions. It can be taken as part of a residential or outpatient program or after formal treatment concludes.

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    Side Effects of Lamictal

    Common side effects that occur with Lamictal usage typically only last from a few days to a couple of weeks. Any side effects experienced should be discussed with a physician. Some side effects a person may experience include:


    • Lethargy
    • Back pain
    • Abdominal pain
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Fever
    • Change in weight
    • Shakiness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Insomnia
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    What Happens If You Take Lamictal and Do Not Have Bipolar Disorder?

    Someone who does not have bipolar disorder or a seizure disorder and a prescription for Lamictal should not take it unless a physician approves its use. Serious side effects may occur, including skin conditions and suicidal thoughts. Using Lamictal can also interfere with the use of other medications or contribute to an overdose.

    What Happens If I Stop Taking Lamictal As Prescribed?

    Stopping Lamictal abruptly or not taking it as prescribed can lead to serious consequences. Clients may experience a return or worsening of their symptoms, such as seizures in those with epilepsy or mood disturbances in those with bipolar disorder. Additionally, there is a risk of developing lamictal withdrawal symptoms, which can include dizziness, nausea, and potentially severe mood changes.

    Can Lamictal Help Anxiety?

    As far as mental health disorders go, the FDA approved Lamictal for use in treating bipolar disorder. However, it is sometimes prescribed in what’s called off-label use. This means while the FDA did not specifically approve the drug for a specific condition, enough people have experienced positive results using it that doctors sometimes prescribe it for them. Off-label use for Lamictal can be done for symptoms of panic disorder, chronic anxiety, and anxiety associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Can Lamictal Help Depression?

    Studies have shown that using Lamictal does not help treat
    unipolar depression. However, it may be used off-label as an effective way to treat persistent depressive disorder that is resistant to the use of antidepressants.

    Long-Term Side Effects of Lamictal

    Like most prescription medications, using Lamictal may cause some side effects. While many are short-lived and mild, there is a risk of long-term side effects. Influencing factors for whether or not a person develops any type of side effect include their age, overall medical condition, and any other medications they take. One side effect that may continue long-term is a serious skin condition. If the person experiences symptoms like a rash, hives, blistering or peeling skin, painful sores in the mouth or around the eyes, or shortness of breath, they should immediately contact a physician.

    How Do I Know I'm A Good Candidate to Take Lamictal?

    Talk to your physician or a mental health counselor to determine if you’re a good candidate for Lamictal. They will want to discuss your history of mental illness, determine if you have a bipolar disorder diagnosis, and talk about what symptoms you experience. If you have tried other medications for bipolar disorder and found they did not give you the results you want, Lamictal may be a helpful choice to include in your treatment plan.

    How Do I Get Lamictal Prescribed?

    Lamictal must be prescribed by a physician as a result of an evaluation showing the individual may be able to benefit from its usage. Someone with bipolar disorder interested in trying it should consult with their doctor or a mental health counselor to discuss their options.

    Find Treatment for Bipolar Disorder in Atlanta

    Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry opened our doors to provide comprehensive treatment for a diverse group of people. We treat several types of mental health disorders using modern approaches to minimize a person’s symptoms. We meet with each person we treat to understand who they are and how they experience bipolar disorder. Gaining an understanding of their specific symptoms and any past attempts at treatment helps us create a treatment plan tailored to their exact needs.

    To find out more about your options for Lamictal and other medications to help reduce your bipolar disorder symptoms, contact us now. We are happy to answer your questions and help you schedule a first appointment.

    You are not alone. You deserve to get help.

    Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry is an Industry leader in mental health treatment . Our team of top medical experts specialize in dual diagnosis treat and are committed to ensuring that each patient is treated as an individual.
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