Skip to content

Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Font Size
A
A
A

The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Most people take more than one drug, like a mood-stabilizing drug and an antipsychotic, benzodiazepine, or antidepressant. However, it's important that treatment be ongoing -- even after you feel better -- to keep mood symptoms under control.

One note of caution: The FDA has determined that antidepressant medications can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents with depression and other mental health disorders. If you have questions or concerns, discuss them with your health care provider.

Recommended Related to Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Romantic Relationships: Dating and Marriage

Navigating any romantic relationship -- whether it's dating or marriage -- can be a tricky endeavor. Add bipolar disorder with its roller-coaster ride of emotions into the mix, and relationships become even more challenging. When Jim McNulty, 58, of Burrillville, Rhode Island, got married in the 1970s, everything seemed fine at first. "It was an absolutely normal courtship," he recalls. "We got along well." Then the mood swings began. During his "up" or hypomanic states, he would spend huge...

Read the Bipolar Romantic Relationships: Dating and Marriage article > >

After remission from an acute episode of bipolar disorder, a person is at an especially high risk for relapse for about six months. Thus, continuation and maintenance of ongoing therapy is often recommended.

Anyone who has experienced two or more manic or hypomanic episodes generally is considered to have lifetime bipolar disorder. That person should have maintenance therapy to minimize the risk for future episodes. Once your doctor has helped stabilize the moods of the acute phase of the disorder (either a manic or depressive episode), drug therapy is usually continued indefinitely -- sometimes at lower doses.

Remember this: Even if you have been without bipolar symptoms for several months, do not stop taking your medications. Your doctor may lower your doses, but discontinuation of medications will put you at risk for recurrence of bipolar symptoms.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on July 31, 2014

Today on WebMD

lunar eclipse
Signs of mania and depression.
Pills on blank prescription paper
Learn about this popular bipolar disorder medication.
 
serious looking young woman
Assess your symptoms.
teen girl in bad mood
How is each one different?
 
Feeling Ups and Downs
ASSESSMENT
Bipolar or Schizo
Article
 
Foods to Avoid
Article
Man being scolded by his shadow
Article
 
lunar eclipse
Slideshow
depressed man
Article
 
young women not speaking
Article
man talking with therapist
Article