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Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Treatment & Care

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The best treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of medication and counseling. Doctors often treat the mania symptoms associated with bipolar disorder with one set of drugs, and use other drugs to treat depression. Certain drugs are also used for "maintenance" -- to maintain a steady mood over time.


Treatment for bipolar disorder most often includes a combination of a mood-stabilizing drug and psychotherapy. Although drug treatment is primary, ongoing psychotherapy is important to help patients better cope with the condition.

If you have bipolar disorder, you will probably need medication. In reality, you may need bipolar medication for the rest of your life.

Along with medication, ongoing psychotherapy, or "talk" therapy, is an important part of treatment for bipolar disorder. During therapy, you can discuss feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that cause you problems.

If you are suffering from mania, your doctor may initially treat you with an antipsychotic drug, benzodiazepine, and/or lithium to quickly control hyperactivity, sleeplessness, hostility, and irritability. Your doctor will also likely prescribe a mood stabilizer.

Today, the recommended treatments for bipolar depression may include lithium, an anticonvulsant, an antipsychotic medication, or a combination of these medications -- all with the goal of modulating moods without igniting a manic episode.

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