Last fall, Australian researchers published a paper in the Medical Journal Australia, investigating treatment options available for bipolar disorder, including pharmacological options.
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. 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.
The researchers went on to suggest that antidepressents should be used with precaution:
Until more definitive data emerge, the precautionary principle should guide treatment, and use of prescribed antidepressants should be limited.
A better solution, the researchers claim, is to have an integrated treatment program that is tailored to each person.
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.