Mood stabilizers play a vital role in addressing various mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder. These medications work by regulating the brain's neurochemicals to maintain emotional balance.
Mood stabilizers are particularly effective in managing mood fluctuations, ranging from manic highs to depressive lows. As a category of psychiatric drugs, they are primarily used to treat and prevent episodes of bipolar mania.
Some mood stabilizers can be combined with other antidepressant medications to effectively treat depression or other mental health conditions.
How Mood Stabilizers Function
Mood stabilizers work by decreasing brain activity in individuals experiencing mania, restoring the brain's neurochemical balance. They can also complement other medications for depression treatment.
The primary objective of mood regulators is to prolong the time between manic and depressive episodes, thereby promoting a stable mood. The specific mood regulator prescribed to you may depend on whether you are being treated for mania or depression and your ability to tolerate various side effects.
Lithium is the most widely used mood regulator and has been available for the longest time. It is mainly prescribed for bipolar disorder and can help reduce suicide risk among bipolar patients.
Lithium can also alleviate depression symptoms and may be used in conjunction with antidepressant medication.
Valproic Acid/Divalproex Sodium, Carbamazepine, and Lamotrigine
These drugs help stabilize neurons and brain electrical activity. They are also utilized for treating seizure disorders due to their ability to stabilize electrical activity.
Effectiveness of Mood Stabilizers
Bipolar disorder is frequently misdiagnosed as depression. This is because depression is the most common symptom for most bipolar individuals.
In many cases, patients may only report depression symptoms and fail to recognize signs of mania, which is a symptom of bipolar disorder. Consequently, they may be diagnosed with depression and prescribed antidepressants.
Such misdiagnoses can be harmful, as continuous antidepressant use can trigger mania. In these instances, combining antidepressant medication with mood regulators is a more comprehensive treatment approach.
Mood regulators can help alleviate bipolar disorder symptoms, enabling you to fully engage in your relationships and interests.
Mood regulators may take several weeks to produce results. To protect against extreme effects, other psychiatric medications, such as neuroleptics or antipsychotics, may be recommended in the early stages of treatment for cases with acute mania.
Symptoms typically decrease as your body adjusts to the medication. Depending on your situation, you will likely need to take mood regulators for at least six months or more.
Mood Stabilizers for Mental Health Treatment
Mood stabilizers are an effective treatment for bipolar disorder and depression.
Contact Bristol Health at (801) 903-5903 or fill out our contact form to learn how we can assist with your mental health medication.