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Bipolar Disorder

A psychiatric diagnostic category, previously called manic depression, characterised by mood swings between great energy (manic) and clinical depression.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wiktionary)

About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time.

Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

Bipolar disorder often appears in the late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25. Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms late in life.

Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout your life...Read more about Bipolar Disorder NIH - National Institute of Mental Health

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

The pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder: a systematic and critical review of the methodological aspects of modern clinical trials

OBJECTIVE: To review systematically the main clinical trials on the pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder and to make a critical analysis of their methodological aspects.

Atypical antipsychotics and mood stabilization in bipolar disorder

The available literature on the use of atypical antipsychotics for the treatment of bipolar disorder was reviewed. All uncontrolled and controlled reports were identified through a comprehensive Medline search. Based on the available evidence, olanzapine was found to be the most appropriate atypical antipsychotic agent utilized for the treatment of manic bipolar patients, although there is also preliminary data suggesting the efficacy of risperidone and clozapine. The preliminary data evaluating the efficacy of quetiapine and ziprasidone in bipolar disorder are still very limited. Double-blind controlled studies with atypical antipsychotics in the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder are still largely not available, but will be critical to determine the effectiveness of these agents in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder. There are recent uncontrolled suggestions that olanzapine may have beneficial effects in depressed bipolar patients, which deserve further investigation in controlled studies. In conclusion, atypical antipsychotics, due to lower potential for neurotoxicity and preliminary evidence suggesting better efficacy than typical antipsychotics, are increasingly having a more prominent role in the pharmacological management of bipolar patients. Nonetheless, until there is systematic data from long-term controlled follow-up studies on the comparative efficacy of these agents with mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics should be cautiously utilized, and preferably in combination with a mood stabilizer for the maintenance phase of treatment.

Adjunctive nutraceuticals with standard pharmacotherapies in bipolar disorder: a systematic review of clinical trials

OBJECTIVE:   Studies using augmentation of pharmacotherapies with nutraceuticals in bipolar disorder (BD) have been conducted and preliminary evidence in many cases appears positive. To date, however, no specialized systematic review of this area has been conducted. We present the first systematic review of clinical trials using nutrient-based nutraceuticals in combination with standard pharmacotherapies to treat BD. A subsequent aim of this report was to discuss posited underlying mechanisms of action.

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Summaries for consumers

Comparing Antiepileptics for Bipolar Disorder, Migraines, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Pain

How do antiepileptics compare in treating bipolar disorder?

Antipsychotic Medicines for Treating Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: A Review of the Research for Adults and Caregivers

This summary talks about one type of medicine—antipsychotics— used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It will tell you what research says about how older and newer antipsychotics compare for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults. Please note that the research on antipsychotics as treatment for bipolar disorder is limited, and more research is needed. This summary will also tell you about the possible side effects of antipsychotics. It can help you talk with your doctor about whether or not one of these antipsychotic medicines might be right for you.

Risperidone in the long‐term treatment for bipolar disorder

No studies involving risperidone were identified which randomly assigned treatment for long‐term relapse prevention. Trials involving random assignment of risperidone and other treatments for long‐term treatment are needed.

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More about Bipolar Disorder

Photo of an adult

Also called: Manic depressive disorder, Manic depression

Other terms to know:

Keep up with systematic reviews on Bipolar Disorder:


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