If you have Bipolar Disorder, you may need to take medication for the rest of your life. Bipolar Disorder is a real medical illness. It’s not something you can cure with willpower. Taking Bipolar Disorder medication is just like taking medication for high blood pressure or heart disease.
Many people who have Bipolar Disorder keep taking medications for years or decades after their last manic episode to stay healthy.
Adopting good habits for taking your medication, is very important, take it at the same time every day. It’s easiest if you do it along with some other activity, like brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, or getting into bed. Getting a weekly pillbox can make it easy to see if you’ve missed a dose.
Keeping a daily life chart that makes note of your daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help you and your doctor track and treat your illness most effectively. If your symptoms change or if side effects become intolerable, your doctor may switch or add medications.
Doctors use a number of different classes and brands of drugs to treat Bipolar Disorder. These include lithium, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines.
Mood stabilizers are medicines that treat and prevent highs (manic or hypomanic episodes) and lows (depressive episodes). They also help to minimize the negative effects of mood states on functioning at work or school or in social situations.
The term Mood Stabilizer can sometimes be misleading; medicines we call Mood Stabilizers actually are not studied to treat day-to-day or moment-to-moment mood swings. Their primary use is in treating full episodes of mania/hypomania or depression that lasts for several days or weeks at a time.
It’s impossible to predict how well a particular Bipolar medication will work for you. You may need to try several different kinds and different dosages. Getting the right medication or combination of medications for Bipolar Disorder can take some time. You can’t expect to feel better overnight.
It can be frustrating, but don’t give up. Eventually, you and your health care provider should be able to find a prescription that works for you. For more information on particular medications, visit our Medication Center…or to get more answers, visit our Medication FAQ Section.