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How do anticonvulsant drugs treat bipolar disorder mood episodes, and when are they most effective?

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Several anticonvulsant medications are used to treat or prevent mood episodes in bipolar disorder. They’re often prescribed alone, with lithium, or with an antipsychotic drug to control mania.

They calm hyperactivity in the brain, and some treat other brain disorders. They’re often prescribed for people who have rapid cycling -- 4 or more episodes of mania and depression in a year.

In general, anticonvulsant drugs reach their peak effectiveness after you’ve taken them for several weeks.

SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)." WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."   Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program. MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)." WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression." American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."






Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on March 18, 2019

SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)." WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."   Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program. MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)." WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression." American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."






Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on March 18, 2019

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What anticonvulsant medications are used to treat bipolar disorder, and what symptoms do they treat?

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