Treating bipolar disease is usually accomplished through a bipolar medication such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antipsychotic meds used in combination or alone. Such medications may also be coupled with psychotherapy to provide optimum results.
Because bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar disease or depression, is so difficult to identify and treat, it's important to know that the disease can strike any gender or age group. Normal high and low moments are experienced on a daily basis by millions of Americans every day, but bipolar disorder takes such feelings to an extreme. Ongoing and recurring episodes of both depression and happiness are often the first signs of the disorder, coupled with extreme feelings on both ends of the spectrum.
Mood stabilizing agents are the most common types of bipolar medication treatments. Antidepressants such as Lithium, Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil and Valium are used to treat various levels of depression and offer mood-stabilizing benefits, though in some cases, they can cause mania. For more severe episodes, Haldol or Thorazine are used to control mania. However, such drugs as Haldol and Thorazine, known as neuroeptics, can cause side effects such as muscle spasms, difficulty speaking and tremors.
Lithium is the most commonly prescribed bipolar medication and is used for ongoing treatment, though its full effects may not be experienced for weeks, and sometimes, months. Lithium is also the oldest drug used to treat bipolar disorder. It may take four to ten days to achieve a therapeutic level within the bloodstream, and is not as effective on ‘rapid-cyclers', or those who experience frequent and chronic episodes of depression coupled with mania. For ‘rapid-cyclers', a bipolar medication known as Valproate is often prescribed.
In some cases, antipsychotic drugs such as Clozaril have been used as a preventative treatment in some bipolar patients, though it tends to cause a rapid heart rate, hypotension, weight gain and constipation. Risperdal is also a common antipsychotic medication that has been successful when used in low doses, and since 2004, it has become the drug of choice in a vast number of bipolar patients. Side effects associated with Risperdal are mild compared to the side effects of other bipolar medication choices used in the past.
Another antipsychotic drug known as Zyprexa, used in combination with lithium or valproate for severe manic episodes, may cause low blood pressure and dizziness. Another very common antipsychotic known as Seroquel has a long-term mood stabilizing affect, while its side effects may include dizziness and elevated blood sugar levels.
Most bipolar medication antidepressants may cause manic episodes in those suffering from bipolar disorder, so they are used only on a short-term basis. More often, the class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin reuptake Inhibitors, more commonly known as SSRI's, are prescribed, and include such drugs as the aforementioned Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil anti-anxiety drugs.
The most important aspect of treating bipolar disorder is to first recognize the symptoms of the disease and seek treatment. A doctor will decide which medication is right for each individual. However, it's good to know that bipolar medication is available which may aid thousands of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder to live relatively happy, normal lives.
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