Medicines, when taken as
prescribed, can help control bipolar mood swings. Your doctor will vary the amounts and combinations of
your medicines according to your symptoms, which
type of bipolar disorder you have, and how you respond to the medicines.
About 1 out of 3 people will be
completely free of symptoms of bipolar disorder by taking
mood stabilizer medicine, such as carbamazepine or lithium, for life.5
The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are periods of elevated or irritable mood accompanied by dramatic increases in energy, activity, and fast thinking. The illness has two (bi) strongly contrasting phases (polar): 1) bipolar mania or hypo-mania and 2) depression.
1) Bipolar mania or hypo-mania symptoms include:
Euphoria or irritability
Increased energy and activity
Excessive talk; racing thoughts
Unusual energy; less need for sleep
Taking medicines during pregnancy for bipolar disorder
may increase the risk of birth defects. If you are pregnant or thinking of
becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor. You may need to keep taking medicine if
your bipolar disorder is severe. Your doctor can help weigh the risks of
treatment against the risk of harm to your pregnancy.
Several medicines are used to treat bipolar disorder. It
may take time to find the
treatment that works best for you. The most common medicines used are:
When you and your doctor are
discussing your medicines, think about whether your lifestyle allows you to
take medicines on time every day. A medicine you only take once a day may work
best for you if you have a hard time remembering to take your medicines.
During your doctor's
appointment, ask about:
The side effects of each
How often you will need to take the
How the medicines may interact with other medicines you
Whether it's important to take the medicines at
the same time every day.