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Bipolar Disorder Medications

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Bipolar disorder medication and treatment along with psychological effects has typical side effects on the human body and brain.

According to Buturak, “lithium is one of the most common drugs used to help bipolar disorder.” This is because it works on the brain as a mood stabilizer. It can help control both mania and depression and it can reduce symptoms of mania within two weeks of initiation. However, it comes with several side effects which may include: sedation or confusion, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, eye pain or vision changes, fine hand tremors, a frequent need to urinate, and excessive thirst. In the long term, lithium may also cause kidney problems. Taking lithium alone is considered a monotherapy.

Researchers in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry suggest that alternatives to lithium are needed because of its frequent side effects and use as a monotherapy. The authors offer the opinion that lithium on its own is not a good long-term treatment for bipolar disorder. In a 2015 study conducted by the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research in Lancaster University, it was found that cannabis use is common in bipolar disorder and may contribute to worse clinical outcomes; however, little is understood about the relationship between this drug and bipolar disorder over the course of life. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of cannabis and bipolar symptoms in a group of individuals with bipolar disorder.

Participants with bipolar disorder type I or type II completed diaries for six days using Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM) to investigate the neurological associations between cannabis and bipolar disorder symptoms. The results indicated that higher levels of positive affect increase the odds of using cannabis.

Nonetheless, the results in the study yielded neither manic nor depressive symptoms predicted the use of cannabis. Cannabis use was often associated with subsequent increases in manic and depressive symptoms. The findings of the study indicate that cannabis use is associated with a number of consequential psychological effects. Nevertheless, there was no evidence that individuals with BD were using cannabis to self-medicate minor medical damages over the course of daily life.

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