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How do the CNS depressants help with bipolar disorder depression?

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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 clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium). These drugs all can be habit-forming/addictive and can cause sluggish thinking. They generally should be used only to treat agitation or sleep problems during the acute phase of the illness and not as long-term medications. They typically should be tapered off rather than stopped abruptly, in order to minimize the risk of drug withdrawal.

From: Treating Bipolar Depression WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD).

American Psychiatric Association: "2002 Practice Guidelines."

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on October 13, 2017

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD).

American Psychiatric Association: "2002 Practice Guidelines."

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on October 13, 2017

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Is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) a viable treatment for bipolar depression?

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