"Mood Stabilizers" are medications which are commonly prescribed for Bipolar Disorder. They are a special class of drugs and are very serious medications with very serious health risks. Yet many times they are given to patients for "mood swings" or for "sleep". What are some of these medications, why do I put "mood stabilizers" in quotation marks, why is their administration a concern and what are the risks?

Let me list a few of the more common, new generation, "mood stabilizers" to which I am referring:

  • Seroquel
  • Risperdal
  • Geodon
  • Abilify
  • Zyprexa

These new generation "mood stabilizers" were actually developed as antipsychotics - for Schizophrenia. They are heavy duty tranquilizers. If you have true Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder these may be the last resort for maintaining your psychiatric stability and sometimes offer a lesser of two evils when considering the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder vs. the side effects and health risks of these medications.

However, taking these medications for "sleep" or "mood swings" seems imprudent. There are serious risks involved including;

  1. Metabolic syndrome
    • Weight gain
    • Increased cholesterol levels
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cardiac Death
    • Dangerous problems with your heart rhythm
  4. Stroke
  5. Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) or Extrapyramordial Symptoms (EPS)
    • A serious movement problem that can continue even when the medication has stopped. With the new atypical antipsychotics, tardive dyskinesia appears to be very uncommon, but along with weight gain and diabetes, it is one of the big long-term risks of this class of medications
  6. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
    • NMS can cause a high fever, stiff muscles, sweating, a fast or irregular heart beat, change in blood pressure, and confusion. NMS can affect your kidneys.

Other forms of "mood stabilizers" are anti-seizure medications. These may include:

  1. Lamictal
  2. Topomax
  3. Trileptal
  4. Gabitril
  5. Neurontin
  6. Depakote

The FDA recently published a warning that these medications could cause suicidal behavior and ideation in patients with mood disorders.

See the FDA Warning for Seroquel.
See the FDA Warning for Abilify.
See the FDA Warning for Zyprexa.
See the FDA Warning for Geodon.
See the FDA Warning for Risperdal.
See the FDA Warning for Suicidal Behavior and Ideation and Antiepileptic Drugs.

For more information on Bipolar Disorder see the Bipolar Disorder section of my website.
For more information on psychiatric medications, see the Medications or the Mood Stabilizers section of my website.
See Diagnostic Criteria for more information on diagnosing mental illness.
For more articles on mental health issues in general, please visit http://www.kellevision.com.

Author's Bio: 

Intent.com is a premier wellness site and supportive social network where like-minded individuals can connect and support each others' intentions. Founded by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika Chopra, Intent.com aims to be the most trusted and comprehensive wellness destination featuring a supportive community of members, blogs from top wellness experts and curated online content relating to Personal, Social, Global and Spiritual wellness.