By definition, mood stabilizers maintain mood within the normal range. If a person presents in a manic state, the mood stabilizer will dampen the mood into the normal range. If the person feels stuck in a depressed state, the mood stabilizer will elevate the mood into the euthymic or normal range. Most commonly, however, the mood stabilizers mainly treat mania, given their less potent antidepressant effects.

Although mood stabilizers should address both manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely approves medications that robustly treat mania with little or no effect on depression. Some of the antidepressant effects of the mood stabilizers that effectively treat manic symptoms may be an artifact of overlapping symptoms between mania and depression.

Mood ...

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