Tags: bipolar | disorder | medications | therapy | treatment | treatment for bipolar disorder | signs of bipolar disorder

Do Bipolar Disorder Medications Work?

Monday, 28 Mar 2011 02:55 PM

If you, a family member, or someone you care about has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may be wondering about the different treatments and what works best. One of the most commonly asked questions is about medication and whether or not it works for patients.

The truth is that bipolar medications can work, the issue that both patients and doctors face is finding the right combination of medications to effectively treat someone with bipolar disorder. Believe it or not, there are dozens of medications that fall under the category of treatment for bipolar disorder, which means it can take some time to find the right combination.

What's more, there are some medications that are better for treating someone with more manic episodes than someone with more depressive episodes. In addition, someone who fluctuates in their disorder may find that a treatment works for part of the year when they are manic, but not for the part of the year when they are depressive. To make matters worse, there are many side effects associated with most of these medications, which makes it difficult for a patient to remain compliant when left on their own.

Another thing about bipolar disorder medication is that there are medications that are called sister medications or cousin medication. These are medications that are virtually identical in terms of compounds but may have different mechanisms of action. When this occurs, someone who may react strongly to one medication, such as Lexapro, may find that its sister medication Prozac doesn't cause any side effects at all. This is why the process of finding the right medications can be so frustrating both to those with bipolar disorder and the people who are part of their support system.

Some of the lithium medications that are used for bipolar disorder are:

  • Depakote
  • Carbatarol
  •   Eskalith
  •   Lamictal
  •   Lithobid
  • Lithorate
  •   Neurontim
  • Tegretol
  • Topomax

Some antidepressants used for bipolar disorder are:

  • Effexor
  •   Lexapro
  •   Luuox
  •   Paxil
  •   Prozac
  •   Wellbutrin
  • Zoloft

Some anti-psychotics used to treat bipolar disorder are:
  • Abilify
  • Clozanl
  • Prisperdal
  • Seroquel
  •   Zyprexa

Typically it takes a combination of all three of these types of medications to equate to an effective bipolar disorder treatment. With such a long list of options, it is no wonder it can take time to find the perfect combination.

In addition to medication, it is important to include therapy in the treatment regime so that you or your loved one can learn to control their impulses on their own without the use of medication, which is the goal of many people with bipolar disorder.

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