Are you a parent looking for information or help with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Oppostional Defiant Disorder? Are you considering using Ritalin, Dexedrine,Strattera, or Adderall? Are you looking for alternative treatments? Perhaps your child has a problem with learning disabilies, such as dyslexia or simple behavior issues. At this site you will find all the help you need on these topics, plus information on conduct disorder, social skills training, neurofeedback, parent counseling, relaxation training, dealing with school problems, discipline, and more.

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Does it Ever Worry You that Your Child is Taking Medication that Affects His Mind?



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Valproic acid

This is an antiseizure medication that has proved very effective in treating bipolar disorder.

Some of the mild side effects are sedation, nausea, and vomiting. Rarely, valproic acid has been associated with fatal hepatic toxicity, hemorrhagic pancreatitis, and agranulocytosis. There also seems to be an association with valproic acid and ovarian abnormalities when it is used for longs periods of time.

Toxicity from overdose is rare but can lead to somnolence, heart block, coma, and death. Overdose is treated with hemodialysis.


This is also an antiseizure medication. Unlike, valproic acid, the side effects of carbamazepine are common and often may be serious. Side effects include:

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Hepatic toxicity
  • Cognitive changes such as impaired performance on learning and memory tasks
  • Emotional affects such as irritability, agitation, and emotional lability
  • Insomnia
  • Neurological symptoms, such as double vision, blurred vision, fatigue, nausea, and ataxia.
  • Water retention
  • Dermatitis
  • Pancreatitis
Overdose of Carbamazepine can be fatal.

Other Anticonvulsants

There are other antiseizure medications currently being used to treat bipolar disorder. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Gabapentin
  • Topiramate


  • Chlorpromazine
  • Risperidone
  • Ziprasidone
  • Olanzapine
  • Chlorpromazine

    Combination Therapy

    Lithium or valproic acid in combination with an antipsychotic medication is more effective and faster acting than either of these drugs alone.

    Some Less Conventional Treatments

    Omega-3 fatty acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit nerve cell conduction pathways in a manner similar to that of lithium carbonate and valproic acid. One study in bipolar patients used 9-10g/day of omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of fish oil, and found significant mood-stabilizing effects.

    The omega-3 fatty acids found effective for mood stabilization are EPA (eicosapentenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexenoic acid), both from fish oil. Maintaining a high EPA to DHA ratio may be important for the mood effects.


    One study done in Italy suggested that 3mg at bedtime of melatonin can treat insomnia associated with mania that does not respond to usual drug therapies.

    Depressive Episodes

    The primary goal of treatment in depression is remission of the symptoms of major depression with return to normal levels of psychosocial functioning. An additional focus of treatment is to avoid precipitation of a manic or hypomanic episode.

    The first-line pharmacological treatment for bipolar depression is either lithium or lamotrigine.

    Standard antidepressants that are useful in regular depression are not recommended, since they can precipitate a switch into mania or into rapid cycling. When used, they are supplementary.

    ECT is a possible alternative to drug treatment.

    Drugs used to treat the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder include:

    • Lithium
    • Valproic Acid
    • Carbamazepine
    • Lamotrigine: This is an anti seizure medication. Its side effects include serious rash and toxic epidermal necrolysis.
    • Topiramate
    • Antidepressants: including the tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) and the monoamine oxidize inhibitors.
    • Antipsychotic medications
    • ECT

    Novel Treatments

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