Bipolar disorder is a mental illness defined by extreme mood swings. Being on medication can help you stabilize the manic moods bipolar disorder causes. By knowing what the most effective medications for bipolar disorder are, you will get an idea of which medications will be of use to you when seeking treatment.

Mood Stabilizers

Lithium is the most widely recognized mood stabilizer to treat bipolar disorder. It has been proven to be very useful in supporting people with bipolar disorder. This medication has been used for maintenance therapy for years and has consistently efficient results in patients. As with most mental health medications, it is only effective if you are taking them regularly. It is important to continue with lithium once you are on it and to speak to your doctor if it is affecting you adversely.

Antipsychotics and Antidepressants

Antipsychotics regulate brain chemicals to decrease severe symptoms of mania like irritability, racing thoughts, and agitation. This includes medications like quetiapine (Seroquel), olanzapine (Zyprexa), asenapine (Saphris), and lurasidone (Latuda). Antidepressants regulate the brain chemicals responsible for emotion during a bipolar episode. Once beginning a regimen, however, these can take several weeks to work. Common antidepressants are Zoloft, Wellbutrin, and Lexapro. 

What to Know About Taking Bipolar Medications

Bipolar medications will help manage your symptoms, but each medication will work differently depending on the severity of the mental illness. It is important to be patient when using these medications for the first time. They can take weeks to months before relief sets in. If necessary, always consult with a doctor before deciding to adjust your dosage level.

If these medications are making you feel better, it does not mean that it is time to stop taking them. Many people with bipolar disorder feel as if they have a better handle of their symptoms while on medication, and fall victim to a false sense of recovery. Bipolar disorder is a life-long condition with life-long treatment and maintenance to control your manic episodes. 

Once the medication begins to work, you need to keep up with it to avoid any episodes from occurring. By knowing what medications are available and speaking with your doctor, you will be able to tackle your bipolar disorder.

Bipolar medications in the form of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants can help control manic episodes. It is important to be very patient when using these medications as they are not fast-acting. Even when you start to feel better, it is still best to stay on them as bipolar disorder is a life-long condition. At Alta Loma, we understand how important medication maintenance is. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, provides you with comprehensive care tailored around individualized therapy, life and coping skills education, therapeutic recreational activities, and a long-term continuum of care. Please call us at (866) 457-3843 to learn more.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.