Medication is key in treating bipolar disorder. It may take time to find the right medicine and dose. If you stop taking your prescribed medication, your symptoms could return.
The role of medications in treating bipolar disorder
Medication is key in your treatment plan. And sticking with your prescribed medication is very important—even on days when you feel like you don’t need it. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, and untreated bipolar disorder can have serious consequences. Going off treatment could result in a return of either episodes of bipolar depression or bipolar mania.
There are several types of medications that may be prescribed alone or in combination, as determined by your doctor. It may take time to reach the right dose or balance of these medications. Adjustments may also be needed to address unwanted side effects. In addition
- People respond differently to medications, so several may have to be tried
- Dosages sometimes need to be adjusted, especially as treatment progresses
- Some medicines need to be taken for several days or weeks before you notice any progress
Getting the right medication for your needs
When starting on a medication, it can sometimes take time until you begin to feel a difference. Ask your doctor what to expect with your medication, and try to be patient. It may take several weeks to see the effects of treatment. With medication, adjustments and changes are sometimes necessary to determine which medicine works best for you. But don’t make adjustments or changes on your own—talk to your doctor. Be sure to give your doctor accurate and honest feedback and tell him or her about all of the symptoms and feelings you are experiencing. With your help, your doctor can prescribe the medication that works best for you.
Download tools that can help you remember to take your medication as prescribed.
- Psychotherapy can also help patients with bipolar disorder, and is often used in combination with medication. Learn more about talk therapy.