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"What medications are used to treat bipolar disorder?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat medications are used to treat bipolar disorder?


The medications I've been using to treat my bipolar disorder don't seem to be working. I'm a 27 year old male and manic depressive. Are there things other than medication that I could try?


Bipolar disorder is a difficult condition to treat, and an even more difficult condition to live with. Fortunately, there are excellent medications that are available to help with the effects of the condition. Usually, the medication that is most helpful to break an episode of mania is the most effective medication to continue after the acute episode has passed, and will work best to prevent future relapses. Lithium is often the mainstay of therapy, given that it has been studied for a long period of time and has been extremely successful at managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder on multiple fronts, including a very impressive decrease in the number of suicide attempts. Other medications include lamotrigine, quetiapine, olanzapine, and divalproex. Unfortunately, medications are the mainstay of treatment, although your psychiatrist will best be able to work with you in determining which approach will be the most effective, well tolerated, and safe. You might discuss psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) with him or her as well, to see if either might work for you. As many of the medications can have some side effects, it is important to continue a close relationship with your prescribing provider. Additionally, it is important to have a close relationship if you are not taking medications, as bipolar disease can be seriously debilitating in many ways.

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