Bipolar Medication and Side Effects

by Gary Pearson

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but there are several types of bipolar medication that can help manage the disease. The emphasis of the treatment of bipolar disorder is on effective management over the long term of the illness.

In addition to bipolar medication, there are many psychological techniques to treat the disease, most importantly counseling and behavior modification.

Most people with bipolar disorder require a combination of bipolar medications, with little evidence supporting the idea that alternative or complementary treatments used alone work well for the long term treatement of the disease.

The main job of the bipolar medications is to decrease depression and agitation bouts in the patient. These medicines are also known as mood stabilizers. Some of the medicines which are suggested for bipolar disorder by the doctors are lamotrigine, lithium, anticonvulsants like valproic acid and carbamazepine.

Antipsychotic which is also a medicine for bipolar patients are used for treating mania. There are some other bipolar medicines like olanzapine, Quetiapine, and risperidone. In most cases it is easier to treat, as well as put off incidence of maniac feelings with the help of mood stabilizing drugs. Fluoxetine, lamotrigine, and quetiapine have been very effective in the treatment of bipolar depression.

It is essential to have bipolar medicines but they are not without side effects. Nausea, memory problems, diarrhea and weight increase are some of the problems which are connected to Lithium. If a person is taking a small dose he may not suffer from the side effects but the chances of side effect go up with stronger doses.

Anticonvulsant medications commonly cause sedation, weight gain, electrolyte disturbances, or other side effects. Bipolar medication that is an atypical antipsychotic can have side effects like sedation, weight gain, hyperglycemia, and restlessness.

Bipolar medication will work differently for each patient, and since bipolar disorder is episodic, it may be hard to tell which medications are having the desired effect. For this reason, patients and doctors shouldn’t expect immediate relief, and shouldn’t expect full stabilization of moods for at least four weeks after starting bipolar medication.

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