The short answer is “no.” There is no known cure for bipolar disorder; however, there have been effective forms of drug therapies and other treatments that can provide stability for the sufferer. Many people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder have found that by utilizing these available treatment programs they can regain control of their lives. Another way to look at this is with another “incurable” disease such as diabetes. That disease affects close to 25 million adults and children in the US alone, yet the vast majority of those people are leading normal and productive lives thanks to treatment programs. Diabetes will always be a part of their lives, but it doesn’t have to control their lives. The same can be said for sufferers of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is also referred to as manic-depressive disorder which can produce intense swings of emotions. On the up side, there can be rushes of euphoria combined with near obsessive energy while on the down side feelings of depression, isolation and sadness take hold. Left unchecked, these emotional swings can lead to severe trauma. The first step in treatment is a complete diagnosis. There might be some distress with learning a person has bipolar disorder, but that distress should be fleeting once the patient understands how treatment is readily available.
Is Lithium a Cure for Bipolar Disorder?
The most common prescribed medication for those diagnosed with bipolar disorder is lithium. Lithium acts as mood stabilizing drug that targets both the mania and depression. Think of it as a one-two punch against bipolar disorder. Just because a person has been prescribed lithium doesn’t mean there won’t be the need to follow up with treatment. It’s important for those folks on lithium to schedule occasional blood tests to make sure there are no concerns with the thyroid or kidneys. Some common side effects could be slight tremors, weight gain or problems with digestion. While lithium can treat bipolar disorder, it is not a cure.
What About Anticonvulsants?
Another effective drug therapy for bipolar disorder sufferers can be found in the family of anticonvulsant types of drugs. Like lithium, these medications also stabilize the mood swings. These medications include valproic acid called Depakene, divalproex referred to a Depakoate, and lamotrigine or Lamictal. Persons taking these types of drugs have reported side effects such as weight gain and drowsiness.
Can Antidepressants Cure Bipolar Disorder?
In the realm of antidepressants, you’ll recognize many of the drugs because of their presence on television commercials. Included on this list are Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Wellbutrin. A common side effect with these medications is a decrease in sexual desire. Antidepressants can help mitigate the symptoms of bipolar disorder but they are not a cure.
Can Combination Drugs Help?
As more research in conducted in this area, more advances are made in treatment. Combination drugs are those medications that combine the effective ingredients of an antidepressant and an antipsychotic. A drug such as Symbyax combines fluoxetine and olanzapine to decrease the feelings of depression and provide stabilization of moods.
Working with an experienced doctor and/or psychiatrist is really the only surefire treatment for bipolar disorder. You can find more information about these kinds of drug therapies by calling the toll-free number on this page. Counselors are standing by to help.