Therapeutic Approaches to Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a severe mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. BPD is recognized by abnormal mood swings from elation to depression. The cause of BPD is not entirely known but genetic, neurochemical and environmental factors are known to play a role in the onset and progression of BPD. BPD is considered as a biological disorder that occurs in a specific part of the brain and causes the neurotransmitters to malfunction. All of the anti-manic drugs available are either anticonvulsant or antipsychotic with the exception of lithium. Beginning with the discovery of the therapeutic effects of lithium, there have been encouraging developments in the treatment of BPD. Although there are no cures, significant pharmacological and psychotherapeutic advances have led to the reduction of the frequency, severity and morbidity of episodes. In the past two decades, significant efforts have been made to develop new therapeutic agents for BPD but only a few new treatment options are available. A few new drugs are in clinical trials and in the preclinical stage of development. This chapter will highlight the current treatment options and potential drugs under development for bipolar disorder.