What Are The Best Mood Stabilizers For Anxiety With Bipolar?

Anxiety is a natural body’s response to fear and nervousness about the upcoming event. A number of factors can contribute to anxiety such as stress at work or school, personal issues, financial stress, death of loved ones, medical illness, and side effects of medications, substance abuse, and decreased supply to oxygen due to diseases or other conditions. Phobic disorders and stress disorders also lead to anxiety. People suffering from bipolar disorder suffer from severe anxiety. Mania is characterized by elevated or irritable mood, high energy levels, hyperactive, impulsive and decreased sleep whereas depression is characterized by sadness, negative feeling, hopelessness, trouble falling sleep and lack of energy. People with anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder suffer from panic attacks, excessive worries, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These people often take high doses of drugs or alcohol to be able to concentrate on any activity or to have good sleep.

What Are The Best Mood Stabilizers For Anxiety With Bipolar?

Most people often suffer from anxiety and bipolar disorder as a co-morbid condition. The doctor’s first prescription will be a mood stabilizer. Many antidepressant drugs have mood stabilizing action which prevents worsening of symptoms of mood disorders and also help in overcoming anxiety in such patients.

A doctor might prescribe a mood stabilizer in such patients depending upon symptoms and the diagnosis. If you have been suffering from an anxiety disorder since a long time then the possible medications which were effective and the side-effects associated with such medications are considered. Different drugs are prescribed for mood stabilization. Each drug has its own merits and demerits:

Carbamazepine. It is a benzodiazepine class of drug useful in treating mood disorders. It can also be used in combination with lithium. It is particularly efficient in mood stabilization of patients with early-onset bipolar disorder and people who do not have a history of mood disorders. The drug is used considering the possible interactions.

Lithium. This is considered as the best mood stabilizer for people suffering from bipolar I disorder where mania episodes are predominant. Lithium is not effective in treating severe depression. Immediate effects of the medicine will not be seen. The effect on mood can be seen after 14 days and the person comes to normal terms after a period of 3 weeks. Most of the people suffering from mania episodes respond to lithium therapy and people who do not respond to lithium therapy are prescribed along with other mood stabilizers. At the start of treatment lithium levels are checked twice in a week and once the patient symptoms improve, lithium levels are monitored every 6 months. Lithium has its own side effects as it can have detrimental effects on kidneys, thyroid and heart rhythm. Doctors advise for a renal function test, thyroid test and electrocardiogram (ECG).

Lamotrigine (Lamictal). This efficiently helps in controlling mood swings in people with bipolar II disorder wherein people suffer from severe depressive episodes with hypomania, a less severe form of mania. It is an effective anti-depressant agent and hence useful in treating depression associated with bipolar disorder. The drug is basically used for treating epileptic seizures.

Valproic acid. The drug produces its action from day 14 and helps in setting the mood especially in patients suffering from mania.

Gabapentin. This drug has been found to be an effective antiepileptic drug and when used in patients with mood disorders, it has shown a positive impact. It is also useful for patients who are not responding to lithium.

A number of herbal medicines have been found to be effective in controlling anxiety symptoms such as passionflower, kava, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), St. John’s wort, Ginkgo biloba, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Green tea, Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). The inclusion of food supplements L-lysine, L-arginine, L-tyrosine, L-phenylalanine, Omega-3 fatty acids, Selenium, Magnesium, and ascorbic acid.


Benzodiazepines, Lithium and divalproex sodium are the medicines commonly prescribed as a mood stabilizer in anxiety with bipolar. Many antidepressant drugs have antianxiety property and hence a single medication can help you in setting the mood and controlling the emotions.

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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:March 18, 2019

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