Bipolar disorder is considered one of the most severe of all the psychiatric disorders. It is a condition in which those who suffer from it alternate periods of mania, or high energy and creativity, to bouts of depression with varying degrees of severity. Because of these two extremes bipolar disorder can be expensive to treat and manage with some bipolar medication costing up to $15 for a pill that must be taken everyday.
The primary focus of any treatment for bipolar disorder is to use a combination of bipolar medication that consists of anti-anxiety, mood stabilizers and antidepressant drugs. There are 4 groups of medications within those three types that are used to treat this disorder including Lithium, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, and anti-convulsants.
When someone is first diagnosed with bipolar disorder the first drug of choice that is used is Lithium. Lithium, or lithium carbonate, is used long term by people with this condition to control mania. It also has the added benefit of being non-addictive but it can be toxic if too much is taken. Patients who take lithium undergo regular blood tests to monitor this aspect of the medication. Lithium can also be used in conjunction with an anti-psychotic or sedative drug to help expedite the calming of any manic behavior.
There are several other drugs that can be used in the place of lithium including the anti-convulsants Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Clonazepram (Klonopin, Rivotril), Valproate (Depakene), and Divalproex Sodium (Depakote) which is also very toxic and can increase testosterone levels in young women.
The main anti-psychotic bipolar medications include Chlorpromazine and Laloperidol. Drugs that are used to treat schizophrenia such as Olanzapine (Zyprexa) and Kisperdal can also be used to treat the mania associated with bipolar disorder. When used with a mood stabilizer these bipolar medications work well for acute episodes of the disorder.
Because bipolar disorder can include seizures or convulsions anti-convulsants will also be prescribed. Tegretol, Lamictal, Neurontin, Felbatol, Gabatril, and Topamox are the drugs of choice for this. Of note, Lamotrigene (Lamictal), was found to decrease the re-occurrence of repeated episodes of the disorder and can also help stabilize mood. It was given the go ahead as a long term treatment option because of this.
For the depression that is associated with bipolar disorder anti-depressants are normally prescribed. The most commonly prescribed of these bipolar medications are the Tricyclic antidepressants and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs). For short term treatment Benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium, Klonopin and Atvian are used but can be addictive and must be monitored. For the short term treatment of delusions and hallucinations tranquilizers can be used.
When it comes to treating bipolar disorder the amount of bipolar medication needed can be quite a lot, to say nothing of the cost. As medical science delves deeper into the working of the mind new and better drugs will be found with many already being tested in the experimental stage.
Andrew Bicknell is a writer and the owner of Depression and You . Visit his website for more information about bipolar medication and other depression disorders.