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What side effects could I have from taking benzodiazepines for bipolar disorder mania?

ANSWER

Benzodiazepines can be habit-forming. They are also dangerous (or possibly even fatal) if combined with alcohol.

Other side effects include:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle weakness

If you have been taking the drugs for a long time, you may have withdrawal symptoms if you stop them suddenly. Talk with your doctor about how to taper off the drug, and ask if you still need them.

SOURCES:
American Psychiatric Association: Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder, 2002. 
Cleveland Clinic Foundation: "Your Guide to Electroconvulsive Therapy." 
Clinician Reviews, 2000.
Ghaziuddin, N. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, December 2004.
Kahn, D. Postgraduate Medical Special Report, April 2000.
Kowatch, R. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, March 2005.
Medscape: "Long-term Management of Bipolar Disorder: Psychopharmacologic Management."
National Institute for Mental Health: "Bipolar Disorder booklet, 2001."
British Medical Journal, 326: 1363-1367. 
The Expert Consensus Guideline Series: Medication Treatment of Bipolar Disorder 2000, A Postgraduate Medicine Special Report, April 2007.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on April 14, 2020

SOURCES:
American Psychiatric Association: Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder, 2002. 
Cleveland Clinic Foundation: "Your Guide to Electroconvulsive Therapy." 
Clinician Reviews, 2000.
Ghaziuddin, N. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, December 2004.
Kahn, D. Postgraduate Medical Special Report, April 2000.
Kowatch, R. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, March 2005.
Medscape: "Long-term Management of Bipolar Disorder: Psychopharmacologic Management."
National Institute for Mental Health: "Bipolar Disorder booklet, 2001."
British Medical Journal, 326: 1363-1367. 
The Expert Consensus Guideline Series: Medication Treatment of Bipolar Disorder 2000, A Postgraduate Medicine Special Report, April 2007.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on April 14, 2020

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What is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and how can it help ibipolar disorder mania?

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