Addiction is a complex disease and is often accompanied by mental health disorders. When going through treatment and recovering from addiction, a person may find that they have a mental illness they weren’t aware of and that this may have contributed to their substance abuse disorder. Oftentimes medications are used to help treat and mental health issues under control.
What Are Mood Stabilizers?
Mood stabilizers are psychiatric medications that are used to treat mood disorders. Severe and sustained shifts in mood characterize mood disorders. Bipolar disorder (mania and depression) and schizoaffective disorder are both considered mood disorders.
What Are The Most Commonly Prescribed Ones?
Lithium is one of the most widely used mood stabilizers. However, anticonvulsants that were made to treat epilepsy are also commonly used. Carbamazepine, divalproex, and lamotrigine are all anticonvulsants that are prescribed for mood disorders. Other anticonvulsants like Gabapentin and topiramate are commonly used as well. Antipsychotics can also be used as mood stabilizers: Zyprexa, Clozaril, and Risperdal.
The Major Side Effects of Mood Stabilizers
Mood stabilizers, just like any other medication, can have a list of side effects. The side effects can vary depending on the medication you are prescribed, but some of the most common side effects are increased sun sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, weight gain, dizziness, skin rash, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, and blurred vision. The National Institute of Health “Management of adverse effects of mood stabilizers” says:
Mood stabilizers such as lithium and anticonvulsants are still standard-of-care for the acute and long-term treatment of bipolar disorder (BD). This systematic review aimed to assess the prevalence of their adverse effects (AEs) and to provide recommendations on their clinical management. We performed systematic research for studies reporting the prevalence of AEs with lithium, valproate, lamotrigine, and carbamazepine/oxcarbazepine. Management recommendations were then developed. Mood stabilizers have different tolerability profiles and are eventually associated with cognitive, dermatological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, immunological, metabolic, nephrogenic, neurologic, sexual, and teratogenic AEs. Most of those can be transient or dose-related and can be managed by optimizing drug doses to the lowest effective dose. (PUBMED.GOV)
Mood stabilizers can be effective medications for some people. However, there is a potential for serious adverse effects with these medications, so your doctor needs to monitor you. Call your doctor immediately if you are started on a mood stabilizer and develop a skin rash at any point, usually within the first eight weeks of treatment. You could be having a serious adverse effect on this medication. One of some mood stabilizers’ serious but rare adverse effects is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a life-threatening skin condition. It causes flu-like symptoms, followed by a red or purple rash that spreads and forms blisters. The skin that is affected will eventually die and peel off.
Do Any Other Drugs Interact With Mood Stabilizers?
One of the mood stabilizers commonly prescribed, carbamazepine can interact with other medications such as birth control pills, antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy, antifungal medications, drugs to treat tuberculosis, blood thinners, cancer medicines, heart and blood pressure medication, HIV and AIDS medications, medications to treat depression, medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection, steroids, thyroid replacement medications, and other seizure medications. It’s important to be proactive about your health and listen to your body. If your body tells you something isn’t right, then something probably isn’t right. You are your advocate when it comes to your health. Call your doctor right away if you feel something is wrong.
Treatment For Addiction And Mental Health Disorders at Evoke Wellness MA
Evoke Wellness MA offers evidence-based addiction treatment to cater to each patient’s individual needs. Our solution-focused treatment provides men, women, and families integrated and comprehensive care geared towards leading you on the road to long-lasting recovery. If you are having issues with alcohol, let us help you. Our specialists and professionals are highly qualified and supportive and will get you back on track in no time.