Types Of Medications For Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a complex illness with many parts of the brain implicated in its presence. Neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, two types of chemical messengers in the brain, are typically targeted by bipolar medications. The primary types of medication for bipolar disorder treatment are:
Medication Quickly Lifts Bipolar Depression Symptoms
People with treatment-resistant bipolar disorder were relieved from the symptoms of depression in as little as 40 minutes after an intravenous dose of the anesthetic medication ketamine. The potential for side effects makes ketamine impractical for standard use, but similar compounds may have potential as rapid and effective medications for depression, including bipolar depression.
Bipolar disorder is marked by severe swings in mood, energy and behavior. Episodes of depression alternate with spells of mania. The depressive episodes tend to be more frequent and longer-lasting. Bipolar disorder can be disabling, affecting academic performance and making it hard to keep a job. It’s also among the psychiatric disorders with the highest risk of suicide.
Bipolar disorder is usually treated with mood stabilizing medications such as lithium, valproate, carbamazepine or other medications. For depressive episodes, antidepressant medications are often used in addition to a mood stabilizer. However, existing medications typically take weeks to have an effect, and many patients dont respond adequately to them.
The researchers found that, within 40 minutes, more than half of the patients receiving ketamine had at least a 50% reduction in symptoms, with 13% becoming nearly symptom-free. The response to ketamine lasted an average of about a week. By contrast, no patients receiving placebo had declines in symptoms close to that seen with ketamine.
Dont Let Stigma Create Self
Another unfortunate effect of stigmas is that, at times, even you believe in it. Here are a few tips on how to cope with stigma.
- Educate yourself and talk with your doctor
- Dont let your bipolar depression define you it is just one aspect of your life
- Join a support groupconnect with others and their loved ones who share your struggles
- Avoid self-doubt and shameyour condition is not your fault
Keep talking to your doctor and asking your loved ones for support.
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Does Alcohol Affect My Mood Stabiliser
Alcohol is not recommended when using some mood stabilisers.
Drinking alcohol whilst taking valproate can increase your risk of liver damage. And drinking alcohol whilst taking lamotrigine can affect your ability to perform skilled tasks, such as driving.
Your doctor should talk to you about how alcohol may affect your medication.
The Role Of Medication In Bipolar Disorder Treatment
If you have bipolar disorder, medication will likely be a part of your treatment plan. Medication can bring mania and depression under control and prevent relapse once your mood has stabilized. You may not like the idea of taking bipolar medication long term, especially if youre struggling with unpleasant side effects. But just as a diabetic needs to take insulin in order to stay healthy, taking medication for bipolar disorder will help you maintain a stable mood.
Since finding the right drug and dose can be tricky, its important to work closely with a specialist and re-evaluate your medication regularly. Its also important to remember that taking medication is just one aspect of a successful treatment program. There are plenty of other steps you can take to manage your symptoms and even reduce the amount of medication required. Healthy lifestyle changes, self-help coping strategies, and exploring therapy are also important in coping with bipolar disorder symptoms and helping you live a full, productive life.
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Who Experiences Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder usually begins in older teens and young adults, with at least half of all cases appearing before age 25. Children and adolescents, however, can develop this disease in more severe forms and often in combination with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Some studies have indicated that bipolar depression is genetically inherited, occurring more commonly within families.
While bipolar disorder occurs equally in women and men, women are more likely to meet criteria for bipolar II disorder. Women with bipolar disorder may switch moods more quickly this is called “rapid cycling.” Varying levels of sex hormones and activity of the thyroid gland in the neck, together with the tendency to be prescribed antidepressants, may contribute to the more rapid cycling seen in women. Women may also experience more periods of depression than men.
An estimated 60 percent of all people with bipolar disorder have drug or alcohol dependence. It has also been shown to occur frequently in people with seasonal depression and certain anxiety disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder .
Purpose Of Bipolar Medications
There are some other medications available that come in and out of fashion. However, our major focus will be on using mood stabilizing drugs as the first line of treatment for bipolar symptoms.
Obviously, the primary goal of taking medication is to first and foremost treat bipolar symptoms.
When a person has manic-depressive illness, there are 4 main things they need from their bipolar medication:
These factors suggest that the traditional approach of using a proven mood stabilizer such as lithium is still the wisest approach.
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Does Bipolar Disorder Worsen With Age
In some cases, yes. As some people with bipolar disorder get older, depressive symptoms can become more common over time. One study found that people diagnosed at age 44 or younger tend to experience more depressive symptoms over time compared to people diagnosed at 45 or older.
On the other hand, there isnt much evidence that says if manic symptoms get worse over time. If you have bipolar disorder and you think your symptoms are changing with time, speak with your healthcare provider. They can help optimize your medications and other forms of treatment used to treat bipolar disorder.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
To diagnose bipolar disorder, a doctor or other health care provider may:
- Complete a full physical exam.
- Order medical testing to rule out other illnesses.
- Refer the person for an evaluation by a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist or other mental health professional diagnoses bipolar disorder based on the symptoms, lifetime course, and experiences of the individual. Some people have bipolar disorder for years before it is diagnosed. This may be because:
- Bipolar disorder has symptoms in common with several other mental health disorders. A doctor may think the person has a different disorder, such as schizophrenia or depression.
- Family and friends may notice the symptoms, but not realize that the symptoms are part of a more significant problem.
- People with bipolar disorder often have other health conditions, which can make it hard for doctors to diagnose bipolar disorder.
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Its Important To Keep Talking
Initially, your loved one may not understand completely. Thats OK. Give them time.
Explain to them that youre working to manage your condition and get the help you need. And that their encouragement and support is needed as well. Let them know the conversations you share help build a strong foundation from which you can hopefully move forward.
Brain Structure And Function
Researchers are learning that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps doctors better understand bipolar disorder and may in the future help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder. At this time, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.
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Psychotherapy For Bipolar Disorder
In addition to prescribing medication, your doctor will most likely recommend that you undergo psychotherapy or some other form of counseling. This may include treatment for drug or alcohol use if you’re dealing with addiction in addition to your bipolar disorder.
Your doctor may also recommend educational and support programs for you and your family, which may help you better understand the disease and its symptoms, as well as how to cope with it.
When a child is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, teachers, school administrators, and other support staff are often engaged in treatment to make sure the child is doing well.
Side Effects Of Bipolar Drugs
Like any drug, bipolar medicines can cause some side effects. They vary depending on which medications you use. These side effects can include:
- Belly pain
- Skin reaction
Some medications can affect how well your liver works or the amount of white blood cells or platelets you have. You may need regular tests to make sure that you’re staying healthy. The antipsychotic drug ziprasidone is linked to a rare but serious skin reaction called DRESS syndrome .
Many side effects will go away after a few weeks of treatment. If you still feel bad after that, see your doctor. Don’t assume you have to just live with the side effects. Your doctor may be able to change your dose, give you another medicine to control the side effects, or try a different medication altogether.
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Healthy Living May Help Your Mood
We all know that being active and eating healthy play an important role in our physical health. However, there may be times when you just dont feel up to physical activity and making healthy choices at mealtime.
However, its important to try and be active and eat healthy as both could be beneficial.
Complete List Of Bipolar Medications: Types Uses Side
The list of bipolar disorder medications is long and complex, but it’s important to understand your options when it comes to treating this condition. The majority of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder take some form of medication to manage their symptoms. There is, however, a surviving stigma around psychiatric medicines, and many people are dangerously misinformed. Here, you can discover the official list of bipolar disorder medications as well as their common side-effects.
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Important Information About Bipolar Disorder Medication
Bipolar medication can cause side effects in some people.
Side effects of antipsychotic medication include:
Side effects of lithium carbonate include:
- muscle weakness
- memory problems
Lithium carbonate can be very effective for bipolar disorder, but it can build up in the body and eventually cause harm to the thyroid, kidneys or central nervous system. If you are taking lithium carbonate, you will need regular blood tests to make sure you are taking the right level.
If you have too much lithium, it can be toxic. If this happens, it usually passes from the body about 2 days after you stop the treatment. Contact the doctor who prescribed the medication immediately if you are taking lithium carbonate and you experience:
- increased thirst
For most people, the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks of being on medication. However, if you or someone you know is considering treatment, ask the treating doctor:
- What are the benefits of bipolar disorder medication?
- What are the risks of medication?
- What are the side effects?
Also discuss what other medications are being taken as some medications can interact with bipolar medication. Never discontinue or adjust doses on your own without talking to your doctor.
Being An Advocate For Yourself
Over the course of your journey with bipolar depression, you may have experienced setbacks. Those setbacks may have caused frustration. However, now that youre starting treatment, its important to take steps toward better self-care.
After all, setting small, attainable goalsbe it going for a daily walk, taking part in a favorite activity or hobby, or eating healthiercan help you to achieve your larger goals in life. Begin by making a realistic plan to reach your goal.
- State clearly and positively what your goal is
- Envision the benefits and how they could improve your life
- Set up small, attainable steps to reach your larger goal
- Be aware of challenges that may arise, so your momentum isnt defeated
- Avoid negative self-talk that may sabotage you
- Have fun and celebrate small accomplishments along the way
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Mood Stabilizer Medication For Bipolar Disorder
The only true “mood stabilizer” medication is lithium. Lithium is a chemical salt and typically lithium carbonate is prescribed. Lithium is still the first bipolar disorder medication treatment of choice in many circumstances and is known to effectively treat mania and prevent future bipolar episodes. Lithium also has a unique antisuicide effect. When lithium is used, blood levels must be carefully monitored as too much lithium can be toxic.1
What Else Can I Do To Help Improve My Symptoms
Exercise has been shown to help improve both sleep quality and symptoms of depression. It can also help to keep a log of your sleep and mood when dealing with major life events, such as starting or losing a job, losing a loved one or getting married.
These types of life events are useful information to share with your doctor or therapist. They may be able to identify patterns that you miss. And they can incorporate that information into your treatment plan.
Bipolar Medication: Types How Bipolar Meds Work
Bipolar medication is often a major part of a treatment plan for bipolar disorder. Medication is the main way psychiatry knows to treat bipolar disorder at this time. A comprehensive plan will also include bipolar therapy, support and education, but bipolar meds are still likely to play a big role.
The Positive Impact Of Exercise
You dont have to go to the gym to gain the benefits of being active. In fact, aerobic activity, such as taking a long walk, hiking, going for a bike ride, or gardening may be enough to have a positive impact.
And, the time commitment is minimal. Just 3 days a week, for 30 minutes a dayeven in three 10-minute blocksmay help you to feel better.
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Learning To Recognise Triggers
If you have bipolar disorder, you can learn to recognise the warning signs of an approaching episode of mania or depression.
A community mental health worker, such as a psychiatric nurse, may be able to help you identify your early signs of relapse from your history.
This will not prevent the episode occurring, but it’ll allow you to get help in time.
This may mean making some changes to your treatment, perhaps by adding an antidepressant or antipsychotic medicine to the mood-stabilising medication you’re already taking.
Your GP or specialist can advise you on this.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Some of the drugs in this category are mentioned below along with some of the indications. All of these may be considered for treatment of anxiety depending on your particular symptoms.
- Paxil : Paxil has many uses, including major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder , and post-traumatic stress disorder .
- Zoloft : Zoloft is approved for the treatment of a number of disorders including major depressive disorder, OCD, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
- Prozac : Prozac is approved for treating depression, OCD, and panic disorder.
- Luvox : Luvox is commonly used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder .
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What Meds Treat Bipolar
Several types of medications can be used to treat bipolar disorder. The most common ones are generally called mood stabilizers. They work by restoring the balance of the chemicals in your brain.
Mood stabilizers work best if you take them consistently. Sometimes people stop taking them during a manic episode becauselets face itmanic episodes can feel great, and who wants to miss that? If you stop taking your meds though, it will take longer for them to kick in once another depressive episode hits.
Here are some of the most popular mood stabilizers:
Following Your Treatment Plan
Once youve started a treatment plan, you may start to feel better and think you dont need your medication. However, if youre having doubts about your treatment plan or medication, talk to your doctor.
Remember, bipolar depression is a lifelong condition that requires treatment. If youre feeling better, chances are its because your treatment plan is helping to control your symptoms.
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What Are The Typical Medications For Bipolar Disorder
There are dozens of different drugs, and everybody responds in their own wayso finding the right drug at the right dose can be tricky. It can take a lot of trial and error with various medications, or even a mix of them, to see what gives the best results with the fewest side effects.
That said, there are two main meds classically used for bipolar:
Mood stabilizers. Usually, these are the initial go-to for docs. Researchers havent fully pinned down how they work, but a prevailing theory is that this class of drugs calms overactive areas of the brain associated with bipolar. Since mood stabilizers can take up to two weeks to kick inand some docs say that’s when the meds just start to work, with full effects at four to six weeksyou may also be given an antipsychotic, which do their thing within a few hours. Which brings us to
Antipsychotics. These meds are a bit mysterious in terms of how exactly they work, but what we know is they act on your brains neurotransmitters . They might reduce the level of neurotransmitters or blunt their effecteach drug works differently physiologically and on each individual.