Bipolar medicine is used to treat
extreme shifts in mood from extreme good mood (high or mania) to
manic-depression. This bipolar disorder causes deep
depression, lack of energy, low self esteem, guilt, changes in
eating and sleeping patterns and even the possibility of suicide.
Treatments vary from electric
shock, psychotherapy and drugs.
When medications don't work, this treatment sends electric
currents to the brain to start a seizure and has been shown to
work for certain cases. Side effects are memory loss,
confusion and other physical complications. This therapy
began in the 1930s and there is a general belief that how this
treatment is applied today (2004) is an improvement from its early
Psychotherapy is another
A more pervasive treatment is
medicine. Consult your doctor regarding these drugs and
their side effects.
The following is a list of
drugs used to treat bipolar disorders:
Lithium - It is not used
for "emergency purposes" only but also for making sure
the patient stays "maintained" and does not swing from
mania to depression and vice versa. This mood stabilizer can
be used with other antidepressants when the patient is in a
depressed stage. For patients who don't get cured, this drug
can be used for as long as needed. However, because every
patient responds differently to this drug, such as some who don't
seem to be affected by this drug, consider other treatment
options. Your doctor should take blood tests to make sure
lithium is working properly.
- This type of medicine is usually used for seizures and
has become the other option if lithium is not working or if a
patient decides not to use lithium. These medicines work,
but as always, there will be side effects, depending on the
In this class of drugs, as of
now, valproic acid is the only drug that insurance companies may
pay for because the other types have not been given FDA
approval. Call your insurance company for more information
on what they will pay for.
- Types of Anticonvulsants:
- anticonvulsant valproic acid
- Depakote, divalproex sodium
- carbamazepine (Tegretol),
lamotrigine (Lamictal), gabapentin (Neurontin),
and topiramate (Topamax).
Antidepressants - Used for
patients experiencing "long-term" depression that may
last up to two weeks. Sometimes this kind of depression
coincides with other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or heart
disease. Side effects and benefits depend on the patient's
age, weight, overall health, etc.
- tricyclic antidepressants -
first antidepressants used.
- monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- With these drugs patients must follow strict diets.
- phenelzine (Nardil)
- tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Selective serotonin reuptake
- fluoxetine (Prozac)
- sertraline (Zoloft)
- fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- paroxetine (Paxil)
- citalopram (Celexa)
- Medicines from the 1990s:
- venlafaxine (Effexor)
- nefazadone (Serzone)
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