Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Most people take more than one drug, like a mood-stabilizing drug and an antipsychotic, benzodiazepine, or antidepressant. However, it’s important that treatment be ongoing — even after you feel better — to keep mood symptoms under control.

One note of caution: The FDA has determined that antidepressant medications can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents with depression and other mental health disorders. If you have questions or concerns, discuss them with your health care provider. Also, research has not shown that antidepressants are as reliably safe and effective in people with bipolar disorder as in other forms of depression, making their use more controversial. Other types of medicines, including some mood stabilizers and certain atypical antipsychotics, are usually the first-line treatments for bipolar depression.

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