What You Need To Know About Common Antidepressants for Bipolar Disorder in 2023

Statistics show that 5.7 million of the American population have suffered from bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a condition associated with brain function that is responsible for abrupt changes in mood, perception, and behavior. There is a loss of interest in daily routine chores, immense sadness, high levels of energy, and suicidal ideation. 

You would also experience that one suffering from bipolar disorder has issues with his sleeping and diet routine. If you notice sudden changes in the patient’s behavior, consult with experienced psychiatrists to get immediate treatment.

The bipolar disorder treatment process is quite demanding and time-consuming for the physician as everyone reacts uniquely to the medication prescribed. Patients try common antidepressants for bipolar disorder for some time and check which one has the better effect on their condition with minimal side effects. Depending on the severity, some patients have to take one or multiple medications to address their symptoms. Also, there are various kinds of anti depression meds that assist in effectively preventing bipolar disorder signs. 

What is the Most Commonly Prescribed Antidepressant?

Following are some of the new types of antidepressants that are generally prescribed by doctors nowadays.

  1. Lithium.

It comes in two variations either in the form of capsules and tablets or in liquid. The salt is known by the name lithium carbonate and comes with different brand names such as Lithobid, Eskalith, and Eskalith CR. 

It is recommended by physicians to relieve the symptoms of bipolar disorder as well as acute mania. The primary role of Lithium is to help the brain function by balancing the mood. Lithium Carbonate is normally prescribed in the quantity ranging from 600-1800 milligrams.

The patient has to follow a strict regular routine for lithium to start working. It also takes weeks or months in order to be fully functional. Lithium has been a popular choice by doctors to treat bipolar disorder for many years but it also has some side effects.

Doctors suggest consuming more water for patients that have been prescribed lithium as it maintains the level of lithium and prevents it from becoming a toxin. While also staying properly hydrated.

A doctor will also check blood creatinine levels to make sure the body is processing the medication properly. The kidneys produce creatinine as a byproduct of their normal functioning. Elevated creatinine in the blood is a common indicator of impaired kidney function.

  1. Anticonvulsant Drugs.

Mood episodes associated with bipolar illness may be treated or prevented by taking anticonvulsant medication. Anticonvulsants were first exclusively administered to those who did not improve with lithium. They may be used alone, in combination with lithium or an antipsychotic, or for the treatment of manic episodes.

Multiple mechanisms in the brain are targeted by anticonvulsants to reduce their efficacy. This is why some of these medications are used to treat epilepsy, mitigate the effects of migraines, and alleviate symptoms associated with other neurological conditions. Rapid cycling, defined as four or more manic or depressive episodes per year, is a common indication for their use.

Common anticonvulsants prescribed for bipolar disorder are:

  • Depakene and Depakote.
  • Lamictal and Equetro.
  1. Antipsychotic drugs.

When taken in conjunction with other therapies for bipolar illness, antipsychotic drugs may help reduce or eliminate psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and manic episodes. These signs may appear during manic or depressive episodes. Some are effective in treating bipolar depression, while others have shown promise in reducing the likelihood of recurrent manic or depressive episodes.

Antipsychotics are often used as sedatives to treat insomnia, anxiety, and agitation in patients with bipolar illness. In conjunction with a mood stabilizer, they may help in calming down the manic symptoms in the meantime.

Popular FDA-approved antipsychotic drugs for bipolar disorder treatment are:

  • Risperdal
  • Seroquel
  • Zyprexa
  • Saphris

There are reports that certain antipsychotics may aid with mood stabilization even when used alone. People who have unfavorable reactions to lithium and anticonvulsants may benefit from using these medications alone as a long-term therapeutic option.

To put it another way, antipsychotic medication aids in the normalization of the brain’s circuits that manage one’s state of mind and the way one perceives. Even though the precise mechanism of action of these medications remains unclear, they are often effective in reducing mania in a short period of time.

  1. Anti-depressant drugs.

Although the effectiveness of anti depression meds in treating bipolar depression is still being studied, they may be useful in alleviating associated symptoms. They accomplish their purpose by influencing neurotransmitters.

When treating bipolar illness, antidepressants are helpful, but they come with the danger of manic episodes, so it’s important to take a mood stabilizer as well.

Symbyax is a drug that combines fluoxetine (an anti depression medicine) with olanzapine (an antipsychotic). Mood stabilization and antidepressant treatment are two possible outcomes of Symbyax.

Different antidepressant groups focus on influencing the activity of a certain neurotransmitter or group of them. Since the Food and Drug Administration has not yet authorized any antidepressants for the treatment of bipolar illness, any medication prescribed may be off-label.

Provided below are common types of antidepressants that are suggested by doctors:

  • SNRIs (Serotonin & Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors)
  • Fetzima
  • Cymbalta
  • Effexor

  • SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
  • Lexapro
  • Luvox
  • Prozac
  • Celexa
  • Zoloft

  • Tricyclics.
  • Elavil
  • Norpramin
  • Anafranil

  • MAOs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
  • Parnate
  • Nardil


  1. Anti-anxiety drugs.

An anti-anxiety medication is usually recommended for those who suffer from acute anxiety (a panic attack). For short-term use, benzodiazepines including alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan) are the most popular anti-anxiety medications. 

It’s not all upside, however; they can have drawbacks: Drowsiness, irritability, dizziness, difficulty with memory and focus, and even physical dependency may be among the side effects of benzodiazepines. However, they have mainly replaced barbiturates in the last several decades because of the fact that they are safer even when used in high quantities.

Buspirone is another medication used for treating anxiety. Unlike benzodiazepines, it does not cause dependency and has fewer potential negative effects.

  1. Psychotherapy.

Most persons who have psychotherapy notice improvement in their symptoms and general functioning thereafter. Psychotherapy has been linked to beneficial changes in the brain and body, which in turn have been demonstrated to enhance mood and behavior. There will be fewer health issues and higher levels of job satisfaction.

Researchers have been able to see real-time changes in the brain after a person has had psychotherapy by using brain imaging tools. People with mental health issues (such as depression, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others) who undertake psychotherapy have been shown in several studies to have changes in brain function. Psychotherapy has the same effects as medication.

If you want to get the most out of psychotherapy, you should regard it as a team effort, communicate openly and honestly, and stick to the treatment schedule you and your therapist create together.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Those who suffer from bipolar disease are prone to unstable mood swings, altered states of consciousness, and out-of-character actions, sometimes without being aware of the potential for damage caused by these changes. These times are known as “mood episodes.” 

Episodes of mood disorder are characterized by states of mind and actions that are radically at odds with the individual’s usual nature and pattern of behavior. During an attack, you’ll feel sick for the better part of every day. Longer lengths of time, say many days or weeks, may pass between episodes.

An episode with mixed characteristics occurs when a person has both manic and depressed symptoms within the same episode. People having a mixed episode may feel depressed, empty, or hopeless at the same time as having an overwhelming surge of energy.

Even if a person’s symptoms of bipolar illness are mild, they may still have the disease. Hypomania is a sort of manic episode that occurs in certain persons with bipolar II disease. Some people with hypomania report feeling productive and happy throughout their episodes. 

Even if the affected individual does not identify any problems, their loved ones may be able to see the signs of bipolar illness in mood and activity swings. It is possible for persons with hypomania to develop full-blown mania or depression if they do not get therapy or appropriate medicine for common antidepressants for bipolar disorder.

Selecting the right medication for bipolar disorder.

Finding the appropriate medicine and dosage for bipolar disorder might take time. Because of individual differences in drug response, you may need to try many different medications for bipolar illness before finding the one that helps you. Have patience, but don’t accept medicine for your bipolar disorder if it makes you feel worse.

Determining the best dosage of a medication or combination of medications for bipolar illness might take some time after the proper medication or combination of medications has been identified. 

What is the Most Commonly Prescribed Antidepressant? It’s Lithium. Compared with other drugs used to regulate mood, it has a narrow therapeutic window between hazardous and nontoxic doses. 

Keeping yourself safe while taking medicine requires regular checkups with your doctor to reassess your treatment plan and close attention to any new symptoms or negative reactions.

Also Read: Difference between anxiety and depression medication

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