Bipolar disorder, the fifth leading cause of disability worldwide is a psychiatric condition where a person experiences states of deep depression and extreme elation (mania) at alternate phases. Though it is a rarity among children, it is quite unpredictable and can strike anyone at any moment. Medications prescribed by physicians are not always beneficial in this case. In fact, these medications can at times can have serious side effects. Patients suffering from this disorder should be wary of their medications. While the medicines are great to stabilise your mood, the patients must also learn to adopt therapy, self-help coping strategies and good lifestyle habits to beat the disorder in an effective way. It is also necessary to find out the right bipolar disorder drug/drug cocktail and continue taking right doses even after one feels better for the likelihood of having a relapse is very high .To know more about the side effects of bipolar medication, read the detailed article.
Effects of Bipolar Medications
- During the phase of mania, the subjects feel extremely happy and optimistic about everything and anything. They feel as though they are on top of the world and can do anything.
- People tend to be extremely irritable and agitated during this period. They feel abnormally uncomfortable, impatient, restless and nervous.
- Their rate of speech and thought becomes very fast. People around them find it difficult to interact with them as their diction is impossible to understand.
- Manic individuals experience lack of inhibitions and are clueless about their impulsive actions. For instance, extensive shopping and spending huge amounts of money on useless stuff or quitting a job without any reasons.
- In spite of reduced sleep, they tend to stay active and continue to feel energetic.
Signs of Depression
- The depressive episodes leave the person feeling hopeless, guilty, sad or empty.
- They feel worn-out or exhausted all day and stop being socially active. They tend to stay away from friends and refuse to indulge in routine tasks such as shopping, showering, playing games.
- The subject may sometimes notice changes like loss of appetite and paleness etc.
- They might even think of death and/or try committing suicide.
Usually antidepressants are used to treat symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. Some of them are Fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), or sertraline (Zoloft). Lithium is also commonly given to treat bipolar disorder.
Though lithium reduces mood swings and severe maniac symptoms within one or two weeks, it produces several side effects.
- Some of the side-effects include drowsiness, weakness, nausea, fatigue, hand tremor, or increased thirst and urination, weight gain and a lot more.
- Lithium can have unwanted effects when combined with certain other medications. Some diuretics (which remove water from the body) increase the level of lithium and can cause toxicity.
- Lithium toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, mental dullness, slurred speech, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, muscle twitching, tremor, irregular heartbeat, and seizures.
Another main alternative therapy used to treat bipolar disorder is Valproic acid, an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug. Some of its effects are gastrointestinal side effects, headache, double vision, dizziness, anxiety or confusion, mild hair loss, nausea, sore throat, stomach pain/upset, insomnia, vomiting, weakness or weight gain etc.
Atypical antipsychotics (AAP)
Also known as second generation antipsychotics, their long-term use is known to result in increasing the chances of cardiovascular disease, abnormal menstrual cycles and infertility among females, reduced sexual interests in men, constipation, visual disturbance, dry mouth, urinary hesitancy, nasal congestion and others.
Medication is not the sole solution to all your problems. Combining therapy along with healthy lifestyle plays a pivotal role in saving you from the evil clasps of these medications.