Can Mood Stabilizers Help With Anxiety?

Every one of us feels anxious at certain point of time and anxiety leads to mood swings to give response to various difficulties going on in the daily life. For some individuals, periods related to anxiety, restlessness, depression and irritation become so much severe that they interfere with their daily tasks, relations and competency levels.

According to experts, these may be various symptoms related to anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder or combination of the two disorders.

Can Mood Stabilizers Help With Anxiety?

In order to obtain wellness, individuals should undergo the necessary treatment to deal with co-occurring bipolar and anxiety disorders. For this, doctors often recommend for mood stabilizers medications to manage symptoms and thereby, reduce complications related to disorders.

Mood stabilizers refer to psychiatric drugs licensed as an important part of any long-term treatment related to manic depression or bipolar disorder, hypomania and mania, along with severe depression in recurrent form. As the name highlights, mood stabilizers stabilize the mood of individuals in case they experience problems with extreme lows and extreme highs, along with mood swings between the two.

Mood stabilizers may be of three different types, which include-

Lithium Stabilizer. Lithium stabilizers are the oldest and widely used types of stabilizers. They have found their wide applications in various therapeutic doses as medications to deal with mania or high mood episodes. At the same time, lithium stabilizers are effective to prevent various episodes related to low and high moods once somebody becomes well.

Anticonvulsant Medicines. Besides the core Lithium stabilizers, a few of the anticonvulsant medicines to deal with epilepsy also work as efficient mood stabilizers. Doctors recommend anticonvulsants as alternatives to Lithium medicines. Common names under this category are lamotrigine, carbamazepine and valproate. Especially, patients may intake valproate and lithium in combination in case of requirement.

Atypical Antipsychotic Medicines. Atypical antipsychotic medicines are appropriate options to control manic episodes. However, during the recent few years, such medications have proved to be beneficial in stabilizing the individuals’ mood when they intake them on a long-term basis. Common atypical antipsychotic medicines include aripiprazole, olanzapine and quetiapine.

How Mood Stabilizers Perform Functions In The Brain?

Until now, none of the neurologists or general physicians is able to identify the exact mechanism of mood stabilizers. However, most of the doctors have perceived-

Lithium Stabilizers. Lithium stabilizers are able to modify both the turnover and production of specific chemical compounds referred as neurotransmitters found in the human brain. Two common neurotransmitters capable to regulate both behavior and mood of a person are dopamine and serotonin. Lithium thus affects the activity of the mentioned compounds present in a particular human brain.

Antipsychotic Medicines. Antipsychotic medicines available as aripiprazole and olanzapine are also effective in dealing with brain neurotransmitters. Olanzapine performs its functions by avoiding excessive activity performed by dopamine and aripiprazone increases dopamine activity in the brain’s specific areas and reduces the same in other areas.

Anticonvulsants Medicines. Anticonvulsants perform their functions in the human brain by simply boost the exact amount of any natural and nerve-calming type of chemical referred as GABA. Moreover, such medications reduce the amount of glutamate, another natural type of nerve-exciting chemical. A majority of people experiencing episodes related to mania and depression have shown increase in the glutamate levels. Along with this, anticonvulsants stabilize the brain’s electrical activity and thereby, calm various episodes related to mania as well as stabilize the mood.

Period Required By Stabilizers To Work

Mood stabilizers may not start with their functions immediately. Because of this, it is essential for you to continue with the medicine even when you do not observe any effect at the initial stage.


To conclude, we should say that anxiety and bipolar disorder patients should intake mood stabilizers for extended periods i.e. up to two years to avoid any episode related to ill health.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 28, 2019

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