What Can You Take for Mood Swings?

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When mood swings reach a level where treatment is required, you have the choice to take over the counter medications or to see a physician and get a prescription. The type of medication used in treatment varies based on what is causing the mood swings. If clinical depression is the cause, steps must be taken to treat it. If bipolar disorder is causing the mood swings, medications are available that can help stabilize these moods.

Herbal Supplements

St. John’s wort has been used for years in the treatment of depression. A dose of 900 to 1800 mg can be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Typically it takes about six weeks to start working. St. John’s wort should never be taken with prescription antidepressants. Kava is made from the root of the cava plant. It acts as a tranquilizer that is effective in treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The dose taken varies based on the concentration of kava lactones in the supplement.

Hormones

One hormone used to treat depression is DHEA. Little is known about its effectiveness, though some people choose to use it. 5-HTP is another hormone used to treat mild-severe depression. A typical dose of 300 mg a day should yield results in about two to four weeks. SAM-e is not a hormone, but it is still found naturally in the body. More than 75 case studies have shown that it is effective in treating mild-severe depression when taken at a dose of 400 to 1600 mg.

Antidepressants

The modern antidepressants used in the treatment of depression work by increasing the effectiveness of serotonin, which is linked to depression. Medications today are considered much less dangerous than some of the earlier antidepressants. Prozac is one popular antidepressant used to treat all types of depression. The typical dose is 20 to 80mg and takes two to four weeks to begin working. Zoloft, another antidepressant, tends to work at a dose of 100 to 200mg. Results can be seen in four-six weeks.

Mood Stabilizers

Lithium has been used to treat bipolar disorder for generations. It works as a mood stabilizer that both prevents episodes of mania and lessens the intensity of depression. In addition, it increases the effectiveness of antidepressants. The dose taken varies on the person. The proper dose is reached when blood tests indicate that lithium levels 0.5-1.0mEq/L. Once the appropriate level is reached, the lithium will begin to work immediately.

Anticonvulsants

Anti-seizure medications are useful in the treatment of bipolar disorder and mood swings. Depokate is one anticonvulsant that is used. The typical dose varies based on body weight and will usually begin to work in only a few days. Carbamezapine is usually taken at a dose of 200-600mg and begins to work once it has reached the appropriate levels in the blood. Topamax is another drug that is sometimes used, but it is not always effective.

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References

  • The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs; Jack M. Gorman, M.D; 2007
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Moods; John D. Preston , Psy.D, ABPP
  • The AARP Guide to Pills; Maryanne Hochadel, PharmD, BCPS, Editor in Chief; 2006
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