Treatment of Bipolar Depressive or Manic Disorders

Lakshmi Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), discusses treatment of bipolar depressive or manic disorders.

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Lakshmi Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), discusses treatment of bipolar depressive or manic disorders.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK) (Treatment of Bipolar Depressive or Manic Disorders)

Duration: 2 minutes, 35 seconds:Treatment of Bipolar Depressive or Manic Disorders

Treatment options for bipolar disorder in children, adolescents, adults and elderly are very similar.

We use same types of medicines to treat the symptoms of depression as well as manic episodes across the spectrum. The types of treatments that we use depend on whether you’re in a manic episode, a depressive episode or whether we’re using medicines to prevent you from experiencing another episode of depression or mania.

Typically, for a manic episode, we tend to use what are called mood stabilizers or atypical antipsychotics, or sometimes we combine those two groups of medicines to achieve improvement faster. For depressive episodes, we tend to use, again, either mood stabilizers or atypical antipsychotics.

Sometimes, we combine those with antidepressant medicines or some of the anticonvulsants, such as Lamotrigine, because those have proven efficacy in treating depressive symptoms.

Because bipolar disorder is a lifetime condition, treating acute episodes, such as manic episodes or depressive episodes, is not sufficient. Once we’ve treated those acute episodes, we have to make sure that we keep people well. We prevent them from experiencing another manic or depressive episode. Now, in order to do that, we prescribe medicines that have proven efficacy in preventing relapse of mood episodes.

In addition to prescribing medicines, we also would like to see people use psychological treatments, and there are several types of treatments that are available including cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, psycho education. What these things do is that they help you to learn coping strategies to help you cope better with the day-to-day stressors in your life. We do know that stress destabilizes bipolar illness.

If you think you have a bipolar disorder and if you have more questions about Treatment of Bipolar Depressive or Manic Disorders treatment, please make sure to speak with your family physician or a psychiatrist.

Presenter: Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, Psychiatrist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Psychiatrist

Video Quiz ( 16 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


The treatment of manic and depressive episodes in children, youths and adults are the same.


Bipolar disorder is a condition that may only last a couple of years and then resolve on it's own.


A combination of medications and cognitive behavioural therapy is recommended when treating patients with bipolar disorders.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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