What Can I Take For Erratic Mood Swings?
Everyone experiences a bad mood from time to time. But for some people, stabilizing moods and emotions is a daily challenge. Patients who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition often benefit from medication. In particular, bipolar disorder is often treated with either mood stabilizers or antidepressants. Here’s what to know about the differences between these medications.
The name explains the pill
The term mood stabilizer mainly describes what this kind of medication does. The purpose of mood stabilizers is to help regulate and stabilize a person’s mood swings and emotions. Most of the time, these drugs are most beneficial for managing manic cycles but are not as useful for treating depression.
Will antidepressants work for bipolar disorder?
Antidepressants are often prescribed in conjunction with mood stabilizers for patient’s depressive phases. Recent research has shown that this combination may not be the most helpful or productive for bipolar patients. Instead, antidepressants work better for diagnoses of depression, social anxiety disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and some other conditions.
Natural mood stabilizers
Since research has shown that a combination of antidepressants and mood stabilizers may not be effective, there are some natural options for bipolar patients to try. Some believe that omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive effect on reducing depressive symptoms in people with bipolar disorder, although research is still ongoing.
Common types of antidepressants
Antidepressants can be divided into a few main types. Three of the most common include serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). SNRIs raise serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that are crucial for mood stabilization. SSRIs block the absorption of serotonin, which means brain cells can send messages more easily. TCAs can help with chronic pain management and are also prescribed for depression, some types of anxiety, and fibromyalgia.
When to see a doctor
Most people experience many moods in a single day. But if behavior is entirely unpredictable, people should consider seeing a doctor. For example, someone struggling with a mood disorder may experience episodes of being so excitable that impulse control is lacking. In these periods, a person may spend money uncontrollably, confront others, or engage in risky behavior. At other times, the same person may feel unable to get out of bed, go to work, or socialize.
Other treatment options
Antidepressants and mood stabilizers are often prescribed in conjunction with other lifestyle recommendations. Patients can benefit from keeping a regular schedule, sleeping enough, and exercising regularly. For more information about mood disorders and medication differences, speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist.
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