Medication Management for Bipolar Disorder

Mood Stabilizers

Because bipolar disorder involves extreme mood swings, one of the main types of medications used is a mood stabilizer. Examples of mood stabilizers are lithium, Lamictal, Zyprexa and Abilify.


With the onset of a depressive state, some individuals with bipolar may need additional medication specifically for the depression. However, using antidepressants can be risky due to the possibility of triggering a manic episode. One antidepressant specifically used for bipolar is Symbyax.

Sleep Medication

Some patients with bipolar disorder also have difficulty sleeping and need sleep aids. Seroquel is used for helping to stabilize manic episodes but also can serve as a sleep aid. Other sleep aids may include Ambien, Sonata, Rozerem or Lunesta.

Side Effects

Side effects are part of every medication. They can be treated by changing the dose of the medication, switching to a different medication or treating the side effect itself with an additional medication.

Maintenance Therapy

Once an individual with bipolar disorder has been stabilized through treatment and medication management, he most likely will continue the same medication regimen for years, or decades, following his last manic episode. Know the specific side effects of your medications and keep track of your reactions to them. If you experience severe side effects, report them to your doctor immediately. Bipolar disorder often requires medication management as part of the treatment plan. It can take several months, or longer, to find the correct dosage and combinations of medications for an individual with bipolar. For some individuals, finding the right combination may be very elusive.