Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 46, 100 mgs: Craving Salt on Lamictal?

One thing I've noticed this past week is the tension between symptoms and side effects.  I'm talking about side effects like reduced appetite and sleep problems -- which are both symptoms of depression, and which both contribute to making depression worse.

I've really struggled with eating for most of the week.  I'm usually hungry by dinner time, but by that point I've had at least eight hours with (usually) insufficient food.  Not good for my mood.  Not good for my ability to exercise, which is not good for my mood.  Not exercising keeps me from sleeping; not eating means that when I do fall asleep, I'm so tired I tend to sleep for much longer than I otherwise would.

When I can choke down some food, I notice that my mood improves immediately.  Of course it does.  One of the things I've learned early on about this illness is that if my mood is unaccountably low, I need to think about when I ate last.  Sometimes, for me, the first indication that I'm hungry is a low mood.

This morning, during my usual trip to the farmers' market, I was trying to bring to mind food that was appetizing to me at that moment.  There was tonight's dinner -- an Indian baked fish recipe, served with roasted potatoes.  That sounded good.  There was the omelet thing I made yesterday, with the garlic, tuna, chick peas, and fresh tomatoes -- that sounded good.  But things I would ordinarily find appetizing, like the pastry another market-goer was enjoying, were right out.  It's not that they seemed gross to me, it's just that they flat-out were not appetizing.

I'm trying to see a pattern in this so I can plan my breakfasts for the rest of the week.  Of the two meals I identified as being "not unappetizing", the common factors seem to be:

  •  lots of protein (fish, eggs, beans)
  •  fairly salty (the fresh tomato sauce I've been putting in the omelet includes tuna, anchovy paste, olives, and capers.  The roasted potatoes and the baked fish also both have salty flavors.)
I thought about carbs that might be palatable, and the only thing I could think of was potatoes.  Rice?  No way.  Other grains, like quinoa?  Nope.  My usual whole-grain buckwheat waffles?  Bleah.

What with my ADHD, I rely a great deal on scaffolding to streamline my life.  Breakfast = yogurt with dark cocoa and honey, with wholegrain waffles, and a salad (it seems to help my cognitive symptoms.  Go figure).  Simple, straightforward, and with a good mix of protein, carbs, fats, and fiber.  Did I mention that I don't need to think about it?

Well, now I have to think about it.  And I don't know what's up with my sudden salt craving -- or rather, my body's inability to consume anything that isn't salty protein..  Has anyone else had this experience with lamictal?  What have you done about it?


  1. I have undersalted my food all of my life and had a salt aversion before taking Lamictal. Now I swear I could use a salt lick. I will eat salty foods that would have burned my mouth before! It was such an abrupt change that I have no doubt that it is associated with the medication.

  2. i have just started taking it. I have gone through a jar of pickles in one sitting. I am not kidding. I am drinking V8 insatiably - all due to this frenzied salt craving! I thought i was the only one


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