Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental disorder which causes periods of abnormally elevated mood (i.e., Mania) or the periods of depression. It affects approximately 1% of the global population and the stats are increasing day by day. Hence, it is an active area of research.
The causes are not clearly understood, but both environmental factors (such as child abuse, long-term stress, addictions, etc.) and the genetic factors play a role. Even the genes with the small effect are involved. The neurological conditions such traumatic brain injury may also lead to bipolar disorder, but it’s not very common.
The treatment commonly includes the psychotherapy (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) as well as the Medications. Medications are an essential part of the treatment for Bipolar Disorder. This helps to keep the periods or the moods in balance enabling the person to live a normal life. They do not cure the disorder but helps to stabilize the condition. Numbers of medication used to treat Bipolar Disorder. Some of them help to fight the manic episodes and others prevent the episodes of depression.
- Mood Stabilizers: They are used for long-term mood stabilization but are unable to quickly treat acute bipolar depression. The examples include lithium, and the anticonvulsants like carbamazepine, lamotrigine, and valproic acid. By far, lithium is the most effective medication of all. They treat bipolar depressions, acute manic episodes and prevent relapses. It also reduces the suicidal risk and deaths in people with bipolar disorder.
- Antipsychotics: Also known as neuroleptics, or major tranquilizers, principally they are used in conditions of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. They are effective for the short-term treatment of both manic and depressive episodes of the bipolar and hence, are considered to be more superior to the lithium and other anticonvulsants. Olanzapine is an example of an antipsychotic drug. Now doctors prescribe new antipsychotic drugs including Aripiprazole (Abilify), Quetiapine fumarate (Seroquel), Ziprasidone (Geodon), Lurasidone (Latuda), Asenapine (Saphris), Cariprazine (Vraylar), Olanzapine (Zyprexa).
- Medication for Bipolar Depression or Antidepressant drugs: In the treatment of bipolar disorder, antidepressants are not prescribed to use alone as they may trigger the manic episode. It is usually prescribed along with a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic drug.
- Others: Several other medications such as anti-anxiety medication, sleep medications, benzodiazepines, omega 3 fatty acids may have some beneficial effects in certain conditions.
- Side Effects: Like any other drug, bipolar medications also have some side effects and the symptoms vary depending on the medication. They include nausea, tremors, hair loss, weight gain, liver damage, kidney damage, diarrhea, skin problems, and several other conditions.
- Recommendations: As the medications for bipolar are very powerful drugs, it should always be taken according to the doctor’s recommendation for the given period of time. The abrupt withdraw of medicine without Doctor’s approval can be very dangerous.