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What is the treatment for bipolar disorder with rapid cycling?

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About 10% to 20% of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling. That’s when you frequently swing from periods of depression to mania and back again. Treatment for this form of bipolar disorder usually focuses on stabilizing mood, mainly by relieving the depression that often dominates.

Antidepressants don’t work on depression symptoms of rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and may even make cycling happen more frequently. Instead, mood-stabilizing drugs like lithium are the core treatments. Some antipsychotic medicines may also be prescribed.

You may need to stay on mood stabilizers even after your symptoms go away. That can help prevent future cycling episodes.

SOURCES: National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Bipolar Disorder." Bowden, C. Medscape, Psychiatry and Mental Health, April 23, 2003. Schneck, C. 2006. Calabrese, J. October 2004. Barrios, C. December 2001. Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Assessing Suicide Risk in Patients with Bipolar Disorder," Jan. 22, 2008. McIntyre, R. January 2008. Goodwin, F. Sept. 17, 2003. Medscape, Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder," Dec. 5, 2005. Conway, K. February 2006.









Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy,Current Psychiatry Reports,The Journal of the American Medical Association,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on May 11, 2018

SOURCES: National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Bipolar Disorder." Bowden, C. Medscape, Psychiatry and Mental Health, April 23, 2003. Schneck, C. 2006. Calabrese, J. October 2004. Barrios, C. December 2001. Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Assessing Suicide Risk in Patients with Bipolar Disorder," Jan. 22, 2008. McIntyre, R. January 2008. Goodwin, F. Sept. 17, 2003. Medscape, Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder," Dec. 5, 2005. Conway, K. February 2006.









Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy,Current Psychiatry Reports,The Journal of the American Medical Association,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on May 11, 2018

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What are the risks of rapid cycling in bipolar disorder?

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