In 2012, Australian researchers published a paper in the Medical Journal Australia, investigating treatment options available for bipolar disorder, including pharmacological options.
Antidepressants lack proof
In their paper, the researchers claimed that medical professionals have a tendency to prescribe antidepressants for bipolar even though there is little evidence that clearly shows they’re effective.
Despite the absence of clear evidence for their effectiveness, antidepressants are widely prescribed for BD and are the most widely used medication class for the depressive phase of the illness.
Antidepressants may make things worse
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis on recent large-scale and rigorous trials, and they discovered that antidepressants had negative effects on the bipolar of people who used them.
A meta-analysis of the most recent, large-scale and rigorous trials found that they were discouragingly negative. The use of antidepressants in BD is therefore controversial, especially in the context of evidence that they can on occasion induce switching to mania or hypomania, aggravate the inherent cyclicity of the disorder, and trigger or worsen rapid cycling.
Doctors should use precaution
The researchers went on to suggest that antidepressents should be used with precaution and should not be nearly as widespread as they are:
Until more definitive data emerge, the precautionary principle should guide treatment, and use of prescribed antidepressants should be limited.
Switch to healthy living as a treatment
A better solution, the researchers claim, is to have an integrated treatment program that is tailored to each person, one that focuses on health living, including proper nutrition, exercise, and general wellness.
An integrated approach to psychosocial treatment focusing on nutrition, weight loss, exercise and wellness treatment has recently shown benefits in reducing depressive symptoms in a small number of patients with BD. This type of approach is the next logical step in the implementation of evidence-based interventions.
This is consistent with the stance Truehope has taken, that good mental health is dependent on a holistic approach to one’s life.