Treating Bipolar Depression
How are antipsychotic medications used in treating bipolar depression?
Experts find that antipsychotic drugs may play a role in the treatment of
bipolar depression. Seroquel and
Seroquel XR are used
for the treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
Another effective drug
with rapid onset for the treatment of bipolar depression is Symbyax, a
combination medication of the atypical antipsychotic
olanzapine) and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
fluoxetine), an antidepressant.
These medications work by blocking
brain receptors involved in mood and behavior, and helping to restore the
balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain
Your doctor will weigh the benefits and risks of the available medications
to help you get relief from the bipolar depression without the risk of mania
How do the CNS depressants help with bipolar disorder depression?
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which include the benzodiazepines,
act on neurotransmitters to slow down normal brain function. CNS depressants
are commonly used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders and
may be an effective alternative or adjunctive therapy in some bipolar patients
with acute mania.
Some commonly used benzodiazepines include
alprazolam (Xanax), and
diazepam (Valium). These drugs are all habit-forming/addictive and must be
used only during the acute phase of the illness and not as long-term
Is electroconvulsant therapy (ECT) a viable treatment for bipolar depression?
Guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association suggest that ECT is a
reasonable alternative in those patients who may have
suicidal ideation or psychosis. In addition, ECT may benefit women who are
pregnant and suffer with
severe bipolar depression.
What about psychotherapy for help with bipolar depression?
medications for bipolar depression, patients may benefit from ongoing
psychotherapy. This one-on-one therapy combines interpersonal psychotherapy
with behavioral techniques to help patients learn how to diminish interpersonal
problems, stay compliant to the medication regimen, and regularize their