Treatment Options in Bipolar Disorder: Mood Stabilizers

Charles L. Bowden, MD

Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health eJournal. 1997;2(4) 

In This Article

Treatment Strategies and Goals

Treatment strategies for bipolar disorder must address both acute symptoms and long-term needs of patients. Although a variety of medications to treat bipolar disorder are now available, fewer than 1 of 3 people with bipolar illness in the US receive treatment, mainly because of missed diagnosis and an unwillingness (on the part of both patients and physicians) to acknowledge symptoms.[1,2,3]

Because no therapeutic regimen for bipolar disorder is curative, the primary goals of therapy are: (1) to treat the acute mania, (2) to treat acute depression, (3) to prevent recurrent depression, and (4) to prevent recurrent mania.[6] Ideally, a therapeutic regimen for bipolar disorder minimizes potential problems with the drugs and ultimately leads to the fewest, briefest, or mildest episodes without intolerable adverse effects from the regimen.

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