Are Mood-Stabilizing Medications Safe?

Sep 08, 2023
Are Mood-Stabilizing Medications Safe?
Bipolar disorder is characterized by intense mood variations that can take a toll on every aspect of your life and health. Mood-stabilizing medications can help — and with proper dosing and compliance, they’re safe and effective.

Bipolar disorder affects millions of Americans, causing marked changes in mood and emotions that can take a toll on every aspect of your life. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help, and often, those treatments include mood-stabilizing medications, also called mood stabilizers.

Betsy Serrano, PMHNP, and the team at Cora Health Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona, offer mood-stabilizing medications to help patients with bipolar disorder manage mood-related symptoms, while also making other aspects of therapy more effective. Here, learn more about these important medications, including how they can be used safely to help you manage your bipolar symptoms.

Bipolar disorder and mood stabilizers

Bipolar disorder is marked by “mood swings” ranging from depressive “lows” to manic or hypomanic “highs,” earning it its former nickname — manic depression or manic-depressive disorder. These highs and lows can happen frequently or relatively rarely — in either case, they can have a major negative impact on your life, your relationships, and your overall well-being.

While psychotherapy can play an important role in managing bipolar disorder and its effects, most people also benefit from mood-stabilizing medications. These medications help manage the “highs” or manic episodes and the “lows” of depressive symptoms, smoothing out mood aberrations and balancing emotional swings.

Since bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition with no cure, people who have the disorder need to take the medications on a regular basis — even if they feel their moods are under control. In fact, skipping doses can lead to setbacks in treatment, along with a relapse of symptoms that, initially, may be worse.

Safe use of mood-stabilizing medications

Since bipolar treatment involves ongoing use of mood stabilizers, it’s natural to wonder about the drugs’ safety. The good news is, these medications have been used for decades to help people manage bipolar disorder, and their safety profiles are well established.

As with any medication, the key to safely using mood stabilizers is to work closely with your provider to ensure your medication dosage is optimized for your needs. Regular checkups help us keep an eye on your therapy, so we can adjust your dose as needed to keep your mood swings under control and manageable.

Like other medications, mood stabilizers can have side effects, like fatigue, nausea, or headaches. These effects typically resolve as your body adjusts to the medication, but you should still keep track of them so we can adjust your dose if necessary.

It’s also important to note that while mood-stabilizing medications help with managing the extreme moods of bipolar disorder, they won’t turn you into an emotional “zombie.” You’ll still have variations in mood throughout your day, but without the extreme swings that can interfere with normal functions or work, school, or relationships.

Help for your bipolar symptoms

If you have bipolar disorder, mood-stabilizing medications can help you manage your disorder, relieve your symptoms, prevent relapse, and improve your quality of life. To learn more about these medicines and other aspects of bipolar therapy, call 602-907-5300 or book an appointment online with Cora Health Solutions today.