Print this topic

HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Mood stabilisers

Mood stabilisers are medicines used to treat bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. Mood stabilisers prevent mania and depressive episodes. This means they help to prevent your mood getting too high or too low.

You will usually need to take mood stabilisers for long periods. This includes when you are feeling well. This is to stop you becoming unwell again (relapsing). You should talk to your healthcare provider before stopping your medicine. They will help you plan how this is going to happen.

Types of mood stabilisers

Lithium was the first mood stabiliser used for bipolar disorder. It has been used for over 70 years and is very useful in treating bipolar disorder. It prevents mania and depression. It also reduces episodes of self-harm and suicide.

Some anti-epileptic medications are also used as mood stabilisers. These are sodium valproate, carbamazepine and lamotrigine.

Some antipsychotics are also used as mood stabilisers. These include olanzapine, aripiprazole, risperidone, haloperidol and quetiapine. They are often used to treat mania and hypomania.

It is common to take both an antipsychotic and a mood stabiliser if you are unwell. Many people need more than one mood stabiliser.

Many factors affect which mood stabiliser is best for you. These include:

Pregnancy and mood stabilisers

Sodium valproate is not safe if you are pregnant. It can seriously harm an unborn baby. If you are of childbearing age, you can only use it if you are using very reliable contraception.

If you are planning to become pregnant or become pregnant, you should see your doctor. They will tell you which mood stabiliser you can take.

Talk to your healthcare provider before stopping your medicine. They will help you plan how this is going to happen.

Side effects of mood stabilisers

Your doctor may perform regular blood tests while you are taking mood stabilisers. This will allow them to check for any side effects.

For more information on side effects with specific mood stabilisers, see the medication links above.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created December 2023.

Sources

Page reference: 1293250

Review key: HIMMH-215644