Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: Introduction | Formulation and Implementation of a Treatment Plan | Definitions: What Is a Mood Stabilizer? | Treatment of Acute Bipolar Manic and Mixed Episodes | Treatment of Acute Bipolar Depressive Episodes | Maintenance Treatment | Treatment Considerations | Conclusion | References
Bipolar disorder is a common, recurrent, often
severe psychiatric illness that, without adequate treatment, is
associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality (Goodwin and Jamison 2007). In the Global Burden of Disease survey,
bipolar disorder was the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide
in 1990 and, without improved access to treatment, was projected
to remain so well into this century (Murray and Lopez 1996).
Morbidity from bipolar disorder often extends well beyond manic,
hypomanic, mixed, and depressive episodes. Full recovery of functioning
can lag many months behind symptomatic improvement, and repeated
episodes can lead to lasting functional impairment (Judd et al. 2005). Recent naturalistic outcome studies indicate that
many patients with bipolar disorder spend protracted periods of
time neither well nor syndromally ill but rather suffering from
chronic subsyndromal, especially depressive, symptoms (Judd et al. 2002, 2003). Bipolar disorder is also
among the most heritable of all medical illnesses (Goodwin and Jamison 2007).