Antipsychotic medications are used to counter some of the more intense symptoms that can occur during severe episodes of either mania or depression, including hallucinations or delusions. Even when these severe psychotic symptoms are not present, antipsychotic medications may be used to treat the symptoms of depression, insomnia, anxiety or agitation that can sometimes accompany bipolar disorder. They may be used alone or in combination with mood stabilizers.

Depending upon the type of antipsychotic, side effects may include:

Muscle stiffness
Weight gain
Changes in sugar and/or lipid levels in the blood
When considering the role of medications in the treatment of bipolar disorder, it is important to note that, over the course of treatment, patients with bipolar disorder commonly require adjustments or substitutions to their medication plan. Although treatment regimens may show positive results initially, patients should expect that they may need to be revised over time. That’s why it’s important that patients take an active role in their treatment plans. Visit Talking with your healthcare provider and Sticking with your plan for tips on developing, maintaining and monitoring your plan.