Valproic acid, also known as Depakote can be regarded as a form of medication that is suitable for treating bipolar disorder that is characterized by significant shifts in the mood (National Institute of Mental Health, 2012, unpaged). Depakote is one of the most effective mood-stabilizing drugs that are used by therapists. This medication influences the function of GABA neurotransmitters and minimizes mood shifts. In turn, the exact physiological effects of lithium have not been thoroughly examined, but researchers believe that this substance affects many neurotransmitters, such as glutamate (Perry et al., 2007). Furthermore, it changes how nerve cells transfer information. It should be taken into consideration that valproic acid is a widely-used mood stabilizer that is applied as an alternative to lithium because its complications are less severe.
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There are several side-effects that valproic acid can produce. In particular, one can speak about such symptoms as weight gain, drowsiness, or tremor (Gillberg, 2003, p. 337). The adverse effects of lithium medication are also significant. In particular, one can speak about such symptoms as tremors, weight gain, or nystagmus (Brown & Stoudemire, 1998, p. 1842). Additionally, the overdose of lithium medication can result in renal failure and convulsions (Brown & Stoudemire, 1998, p. 1842). These are the main risks that therapists and psychiatrists should take into consideration. In many cases, it is more prudent to choose a less potent drug such as valproic acid to avoid possible risks to the health of a patient.
Psychiatrists should closely monitor the health of patients who can take these drugs to overcome various mental disorders. Nevertheless, more attention should be paid to lithium medication because the by-products of this treatment can be more dangerous. For example, an overdose of lithium can lead to permanent neurotoxicity (Brown & Stoudemire, 1998, p. 1842). This issue is particularly important when one speaks about Mary, who currently takes lithium. One can recommend regular follow-up visits of the patient to the therapist, who should determine whether there are any side-effects. Sometimes, it may be necessary to change the treatment mode. This is one of the leading suggestions that can be made.
These examples indicate that a counselor should be conscientious while referring a patient to the psychiatrist. In particular, this professional should insist on medication in those cases, when a patient consistently demonstrates the symptoms of certain psychological diseases such as bipolar syndrome or depression. Therefore, counselors should focus on the accuracy of their diagnosis. Apart from that, a counselor should insist on the use of treatment methods that do not pose significant risks to the health or life of a patient. These are the primary duties of this professional.
Finally, one should take into account that pharmaceutical medication is not the only form of treatment. One should also emphasize such aspects as a healthy diet, interactions with friends and relatives, physical exercises, and so forth (Perry et al., 2007). These factors play a critical role in mitigating the symptoms of bipolar disorder. This discussion indicates that the treatment of bipolar disorders can be useful if therapists and counselors should look at various factors, such as the side-effects of medication or the intensity of symptoms. In this way, they can ensure that a patient does not face significant complications in the future.
Brown, T. & Stoudemire, A. (1998). Psychiatric Side Effects of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications: Recognition and Management. New York: American Psychiatric Pub.
Gillberg, C. (2003). Clinical Child Neuropsychiatry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). Bipolar disorder among adults. Web..
Perry, P., Alexander, B., Liskow, B., & DeVane, C. (2007). Psychotropic drug handbook. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.