Harvard Mental Health Letter

Drug treatment of bipolar disorder

One of the most troublesome psychiatric disorders has begun to succumb, in part, to medications. Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder is a challenge for physicians and psychiatrists because of its varied, severe, and constantly changing symptoms. But many drug treatments are available and can be adapted to the needs of individual patients.

Symptoms

The extremes of bipolar disorder's mood cycle are misery and elation. At the low end, patients lose interest in life and capacity for pleasure. They feel sad, worthless, and hopeless. They cannot concentrate, make decisions, or take initiative. They may be either agitated or lethargic, and they usually have physical symptoms — appetite loss, fatigue, pain, insomnia.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »