Separate Yourself From Your Emotions
Keep in mind that your thoughts and emotions don’t define you. “Remind yourself that ‘you are not your thoughts’ and that ‘feelings arenât facts,'” says Hudson. “There is a big difference between having the thought that youâre undesirable and actually being undesirable.” If you let your thoughts define your core, you’ll become hopeless and more apt to dwell in negativity. Be the best version of yourself, one that can be resilient.
Medicines For Bipolar Disorder
Several medicines are available to help stabilise mood swings.
These are commonly called mood stabilisers and include:
- anticonvulsant medicines
- antipsychotic medicines
If you’re already taking medicine for bipolar disorder and you develop depression, your GP will check you’re taking the correct dose. If you’re not, they’ll change it.
Episodes of depression are treated slightly differently in bipolar disorder, as taking antidepressants alone may lead to a relapse.
Most guidelines suggest depression in bipolar disorder can be treated with just a mood stabiliser.
But antidepressants are commonly used alongside a mood stabiliser or antipsychotic.
If your GP or psychiatrist recommends you stop taking bipolar disorder medicine, the dose should be gradually reduced over at least 4 weeks, and up to 3 months if you’re taking an antipsychotic or lithium.
If you have to stop taking lithium for any reason, talk to your GP about taking an antipsychotic or valproate instead.
Mood Stabilizers For Kids: Do They Need Them And Are They Safe
Mood stabilizers for kids can be safe as long as a licensed medical professional prescribes them and the childs health is carefully monitored. If you believe your child is showing signs of bipolar disorder, your physician will run a series of psychiatric tests and physical exams to rule out other causes of his or her symptoms. Your child will then most likely be referred to a child psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in mood disorders in children.
Mood stabilizers for kids include:
- Lithium There is limited research into this area, but findings show that lithium is safe and may be effective in treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents.
- Carbamazepine Carbamazepine is known to be effective as a mood stabilizer in children and teenagers with bipolar disorder. It is also used as an anticonvulsant.
- Sodium valproate Limited studies show that sodium valproate is safe and effective in reducing symptoms of mania in children with bipolar disorder.If your childs symptoms are severely impacting his or her life, or if your doctor believes they pose a risk to your childs safety, a mood stabilizer may be prescribed. Other, less common forms of treatment for bipolar disorder in children include antipsychotic medications, antidepressants and antipsychotic-antidepressant combinations. Your child may also be referred for talking therapy and closely monitored.
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Olanzapine As Mood Stabilizer
Olanzapine is known to be one of the most famous antipsychotic as well as a mood stabilizer.
As long as it came out as antipsychotic by the FDA, psychiatrists started trying to figure its effects for mood stabilizing properties.
Now the FDA has also approved it as a mood stabilizer. It means that you can take this antipsychotic without any symptoms of psychosis at all.
The main reason to offer antipsychotic for mood stabilization is the fact that it has been found extremely effective in reducing the effects and symptoms of bipolar disorder.
It even may help antidepressants work in people who dont clearly have bipolar disorder.
Olanzapine for anxiety is unbelievably effective, and has rather fewer side effects than any other medicines.
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Types Of Mood Stabilizing Medication
The oldest and most studied of mood stabilizers is lithium. However, many drugs that were first developed as anticonvulsants to treat epilepsy also act as mood stabilizers. These include carbamazepine, divalproex and lamotrigine. Gabapentin and topiramate are also anticonvulsants that may act as mood stabilizers, but they are usually given in addition to other medications.
Lithium is found in nature in some mineral waters and is also present in small amounts in the human body.
Lithium is used to treat mania and to prevent further episodes of mania and depression.
Common side-effects of lithium include increased thirst and urination, nausea, weight gain and a fine trembling of the hands. Less common side-effects can include tiredness, vomiting and diarrhea, blurred vision, impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, skin changes and slight muscle weakness. These effects are generally mild and fade as treatment continues. If, however, any of these effects are severe, they should be reported to your doctor immediately. Thyroid and kidney function can be affected by lithium in some people and must be monitored regularly by your doctor.
Changing the amount of salt you use can also affect lithium levels: avoid switching to low- or no-salt diets.
Signs that the amount of lithium in the body is higher than it should be include severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, shaking and twitching, loss of balance, slurred speech, double vision and weakness.
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Medical Marijuana And Mood Disorders:
The trend among cannabis and medical conditions tends to be that marijuana assists with some of the symptoms from the ailment. However, with mood disorders, cannabis often takes a step further with its ability to generate a lasting impact.
Depression specifically, and the depressive side to bipolar, seem to be quite responsive to the consumption of certain marijuana strains.
Although cannabis can also assist in lessening the impact of some symptoms of mood disorders , it also acts to relieve the depression itself.
Therefore, many patients are turning towards cannabis as an alternative to conventional medications and therapies. Additionally, the use of medical cannabis for depression relief, combined with regular talk therapy, acts as a sturdy combination for some individuals with depression.
Does Alcohol Affect My Mood Stabiliser
Alcohol is not recommended when using some mood stabilisers.
Drinking alcohol whilst taking valproate can increase your risk of liver damage. And drinking alcohol whilst taking lamotrigine can affect your ability to perform skilled tasks, such as driving.
Your doctor should talk to you about how alcohol may affect your medication.
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Learn About Your Bipolar Disorder Medication
When starting a new medication, educate yourself about how to take it safely. Questions to ask your doctor about any new prescription include:
How often should you talk with your doctor?
During an acute manic or depressive episode, youll likely need to talk with your doctor at least once a week to monitor your symptoms, medications, and any side effects youre experiencing. This will become less often as you start to recover. Once youre feeling better, youll likely still need to review things with your doctor every few months. However, its important to see your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:
- Suicidal or violent feelings.
Pregnancy And Bipolar Medicines
One of the main problems is that the risks of taking bipolar medicines during pregnancy are not well understood.
If you’re pregnant and you have bipolar disorder, a written plan for your treatment should be developed as soon as possible.
The plan should be drawn up with you, your partner, your obstetrician , midwife, GP and health visitor.
The following medicines are not routinely prescribed for pregnant women with bipolar disorder, as they may harm the baby:
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What Are Common Mood Stabilizer Medications
Just like other types of medications, there are multiple brands and options when it comes to mood stabilizers.
Lithium is arguably one of the most popular mood stabilizer medications, and its been around for over 45 years.
Other mood stabilizers can include anticonvulsant medications.
Well take a look at these four as you may hear about them when exploring mood stabilizers for depression: lithium, valproic acid, carbamazepine and lamotrigine.
Treating Bipolar Ii Depression With Antidepressants
The studies reviewed above examined either bipolar I depression or a mixture of bipolar I and II patients. As noted, bipolar II disorder may be far more dominated by depression compared to bipolar I patients . But, there are legitimate reasons to consider that the risk/benefit ratio of antidepressants in bipolar II patients may differ markedly from bipolar I patients. As one example, whereas when bipolar I patients switch, they do so almost equally into mania vs. hypomania , bipolar II patients switch into hypomania 90% of the time . Additionally, whether all hypomanias need to be treated is debatable . Finally, bipolar II patients demonstrate TEAS at approximately 50% the rate of bipolar I patients . Thus, switches with bipolar II patients are both less frequent and milder, diminishing the risk of antidepressant treatment considerably.
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What Is A Mood Disorder
With so many terms floating around, you might be wondering, “What is a mood disorder, anyways?”
Mood disorder symptoms vary from person to person. In general, a mood disorder impacts a persons ability to function on an emotional level. A person who suffers from a mood disorder may experience varying degrees of depression, anxiousness, irritability, and apathy.
Below, we list several signs and symptoms of mood disorders. A person who suffers from a mood disorder may experience just one or several of the following symptoms:
- Having chronically low energy levels
- Losing interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Regularly feeling bored and lacking motivation
- Not having an appetite or overeating
- Experiencing sleep disruptions, such as insomnia or oversleeping
- Frequently feeling sad or bummed out
- Experiencing mood swings or irritability
- Turning to alcohol or drugs
- Feeling chronically guilty or worthless
- Experiencing periods of poor judgment, restlessness, and even euphoria
- Feeling apathetic or indifferent
- Having a hard time focusing and concentrating on daily tasks
Natural Mood Stabilizers: What Are Some Healthy Ways To Enhance Your Mood
Some people who suffer from depression prefer to look to natural mood stabilizers like St. Johns Wort or Rhodiola to help them manage symptoms. But before you try one yourself what should you know about these natural remedies? Which ones have been shown to help and which ones lack evidence of effectiveness? Can some of them have harmful side effects?
Natural remedies that can help improve your mood
St. Johns Wort. A 2008 Cochrane review of this herb found that it can work as effectively as some prescription antidepressants but with fewer side effects. However the review mentioned that there are a few factors to consider including varying levels of quality and strength as well as potential interactions with other drugs.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Long-chain fatty acids like eicosapentaenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid have been shown to reduce inflammation. Since inflammation is considered to be a partial underlying cause of depression and bipolar disorder these acids could be beneficial to many. Taking a fish oil supplement or eating fish thats high in Omega-3 like salmon can help increase fatty acid levels in the body.
SAMe. SAMe also known as S-Adenosyl-L-methionine has been studied scientifically as a treatment for depression. Several well-designed trials have shown that SAMe often works better than placebo or prescription antidepressants. It was also shown to help people who experienced depression but were resistant to typical antidepressants.
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When To See A Doctor
Most people experience many moods in a single day. But if behavior is entirely unpredictable, people should consider seeing a doctor. For example, someone struggling with a mood disorder may experience episodes of being so excitable that impulse control is lacking. In these periods, a person may spend money uncontrollably, confront others, or engage in risky behavior. At other times, the same person may feel unable to get out of bed, go to work, or socialize.
How Long Does It Take To Work
In certain cases, the antidepressant and antimanic benefits of lamotrigine are noticed pretty early on in the treatment cycle, says Dr. Aiken. For some other patients, though, effects are seen after about a month of being on lamotrigine treatment. But there will always be others that take a bit longer to experience the positive effects.
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Why Might I Be Offered A Mood Stabiliser
The decision to offer you a mood stabiliser is likely to depend on:
- your diagnosis and the symptoms you experience
- your past experiences of taking medication, including what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. For example, if you’ve tried lithium and had lots of problems with it, you may be offered a different mood stabiliser instead
- your medical circumstances. For example, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a history of kidney or thyroid problems
- what you want from your treatment. See our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem and advocacy for information on having your say in decisions about your treatment, and making yourself heard.
Who can prescribe mood stabilisers?
There are a few different healthcare professionals who can prescribe mood stabilisers to you. It may depend on which type of mood stabiliser you are being offered. It may also depend on whether you are just starting to take it or being given ongoing prescriptions.
The person who prescribes it may be your doctor . Or it could be another specialist healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist. These information pages usually refer to ‘your doctor’ prescribing this medication.
Before you take any medication
Before you decide to take any medication, you should make sure you have all the facts you need to feel confident about your decision. For guidance on the basic information you might want to know about any drug before you take it, see our pages on:
Mood Stabilizers For Depression: What To Know
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
If you love linguistics, you may already know that some words or terms can have several meanings.
And it can sometimes be similar with medication: One drug might be able to treat several types of symptoms, diseases or disorders.
And so it is with mood stabilizers. Theyre often prescribed to treat bipolar disorder yet more specifically, can also help manage manic or depressive symptoms.
Read on to learn more about mood stabilizers for depression.
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How Long Do Mood Stabilizers Take To Work
There can be signs of improvement early on in treatment but it may take up to several months to experience the full effect of the medication and determine whether it is working.
Everybody is different including the way each persons brain is wired, therefore medications may work differently in each person.
Finding the right mood stabilizer is a process of trial and error. Some people may have to try several different medications before they find one that works.