There is no one-size-fits-all medication plan. Work closely with your psychiatrist to monitor your side effects and re-evaluate your medication. It can take some time to find the right medication and dosage. Be as patient as you can be. If side effects last longer than a week then you need to urgently raise this with your psychiatrist.

Medication is just one part of your treatment plan. You need to live a healthy lifestyle with a good eating plan and exercise, go to therapy even if you are feeling good, create coping strategies that you can use to soothe yourself and lean on a solid support structure that you build for yourself.

Follow your prescription

If you don't like the drug, don't like how it feels or feel like it's not working for you then speak to your psychiatrist. There may be alternatives. If you decide you don't want to be on medication anymore then your psychiatrist needs to help wean you off of it. If you do this on your own you will experience nasty withdrawals that could make you very ill and even cause you to severely struggle during the day.

Make a note of your side effects

Keep a record what side effects occur, when and how bad they are. Show your psychiatrist. They may have to switch drugs or change the dosage of your current medication.

Watch out for interactions

Other prescription medication, over-the-counter meds or herbal supplements could interact, cause terrible side effects of make your medication less effective or dangerous. Read the drug pamphlets, research the drugs online or talk to your psychiatrist and pharmacist.

Mixing certain foods and beverages can also cause problems.


Healthy lifestyle

Make good life choices. Your medication will work better if you are on a healthy eating plan, exercise and life a well-balanced lifestyle.


Reduce or even stop drinking alcohol. It's a depressant which makes recovery difficult and it can interact with your medication.


Use a reminder app like MediSafe to take the right dosage and the appropriate times.


Take all your old medication or the medication you no longer use to your local pharmacy for them to get dispose of it for you.



Lithium is a well-known mood stabiliser which helps control the highs and lows of bipolar. Lithium takes from one to two weeks to reach its full effect. Get regular blood tests as high dosages can be toxic. Avoid lithium toxicity:

  • Take the same amount of caffeine (less caffeine the higher your lithium levels go, more caffeine the lower your lithium levels go)
  • Take the same amount of salt each day
  • Drink lots of water. More than 10 glasses if it is a hot day or if you exercise heavily
  • Alcohol can make you lose water so avoid it
  • Go for blood tests
  • Tell your GP and pharmacist that you are taking lithium before they prescribe you something


These drugs were originally created for epilepsy. They seem to relieve the symptoms of mania and reduce mood swings.

These can include Depakote, Depakene (divalproex sodium, valproic acid, or valproate sodium), Lamictal (lamotrigine) and Tegretol (carbamazepine)


They are useful if you lose touch with reality and they also help regular manic episodes. They are helpful when mood stabiliser don't seem to work. These drugs are often combined with lithium or valproic acid.

Aripiprazole, olanzapine, risperidone are some of the options if behavior is very disturbed and symptoms are severe.