Manic depression, or bipolar disorder, is a mental illness characterized by shifting mood changes, extreme highs and lows intertwined with episodes of normality. These mood variations can successively follow one another within a few days in scenarios of serious manic depression. Alternatively, they can be spaced several months or years.
These mood variations normally vary in intensity and seriousness and can also simultaneously occur in blended episodes. Individuals in their high mood can exhibit a lot of energy by over talking and having short attention spans. These people can get very irritable and have a heightened belief of being important in the world. They may talk about imaginary business deals and romantic escapades.
The low mood is characterized by low energy and concentration, guilt, sadness, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. If this condition is not treated, it has the potential to degenerate to a psychotic state. The following are the most common manic depression medication:
This tends to be the most used medication in the treatment of manic depression. It tries to strike an equilibrium in the mood swings from both the extreme ends. This essentially makes it a medication for not just treating mood flares and manic attacks, but also for the gradual managing this bipolar disorder.
In as much as lithium reduces extreme manic symptoms within seven to ten days, it may take several weeks to months before the disorder is fully brought under control.
Lithium can also be coupled with antidepressants during the depressive stage of manic depression. Anti-psychotic medication is normally administered in the first days of commencing treatment to soothe manic symptoms before the lithium begins to work. Most people respond properly to this medication and experience recurrence of the manic episodes while others have fewer episodes.
Unfortunately, other people do not respond to this medication. Regular blood tests are important since too little lithium will not be effective while too much can be harmful.
2. Valproic acid
This anticonvulsant is the principal alternative medication for manic depression. It is as effective as lithium and shows excellent response in individuals with cycling manic depression. It carries a risk of causing gastrointestinal complications, but the incidence is low. Its other side effects include headache, dizziness, confusion and anxiety.
It has also been
reported to cause liver dysfunction, which necessitates performing liver
function examinations frequently, especially in the first half a year of
medication. It can also heighten testosterone levels in females and cause body
hair and obesity.
This is an anticonvulsant found in stores under brand names like Depakene and Depakote. It got approval for use as mood stabilizer in 1995 and was the first medication to be approved for treating manic depression since lithium. It was previously prescribed as a medication for treating epilepsy only. Its side effects are; tremors, nausea, liver problems, weight gain, dizziness and drowsiness.
The most common drugs in this class include; Valium, Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin. They are at times prescribed with a mood stabilizer so as to reduce tension and enhance sleep. They are not an adequate treatment for manic depression when they are used by themselves. They are also not meant for long term use because they can be addictive to patients.
This medication is commonly found in pharmacies as Tegretol. It is an anticonvulsant medication which can also be used as a mood stabilizer during the treatment of manic depression. Common side effects include; rash, dizziness, liver problems, drowsiness, nausea, unsteadiness and blurred vision.
These are just some of the common manic depression medications used today. There is always new research being done as to what drugs are the most effective and new medications are in the making all the time. Talk to your doctor about the various manic depression medications available and discuss the possible side effects as well.
You want to be an active participant in choosing the right medication for you.
You don’t have to suffer from manic depression, as there are prescription drugs and therapy treatments available to help you. If you have any questions, consult your mental health professional or primary care physician. Getting informed when it comes to mood disorders will prove beneficial and get you on the road to mood stability.
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