Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, and pharmacotherapy is essential to its long-term management. Once a comprehensive diagnostic assessment for acute or mixed mania has been completed, it is important to look at an evidence-based data set to guide treatment selection for mood stabilization.
For most patients, lifetime adherence to pharmacotherapy is necessary for maximal mood stability. Pharmacotherapy is the primary treatment for bipolar disorder, as it has been found to be efficacious in treating acute episodes and preventing future episodes of bipolar I disorder. Combination therapy, including at least one mood stabilizer, may be necessary to treat acute depression and mania and to further prevent both depressive and manic recurrences. The goal is to minimize frequency, duration, and severity of depressive and manic symptoms with a treatment regimen, ideally a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, that is positioned to maximize treatment adherence and minimize side effects.
This discussion reviews some treatment guidelines for acute manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. Through the context of a case study, this discussion will attempt to provide an understanding and appreciation of Food and Drug Administration-approved and non-FDA-approved treatments for acute mania. In addition, the impact of alcohol as an example of drugs of abuse and its impact on the presentation of acute mania will be discussed.