Pedro L. Delgado, M.D.
Alan J. Gelenberg, M.D.
The latter half of the 20th century represented a period of exponential growth in our knowledge of mood disorders. Fifty years of clinical research have increased our understanding of the theoretical basis and pathophysiology of these illnesses and have refined our knowledge of brain function and the mechanism of action of antidepressant and antimanic medications. Millions of persons who have these devastating illnesses have already received the benefits of this research, and new treatments are being explored every day. In this chapter we provide an overview of the currently available medications for mood disorders, including known benefits, potential side effects, and proper usage.
Several key questions remain as the current focus of research. We do not yet fully understand the mechanism of action of antidepressant and antimanic agents, the reason for time lags in therapeutic effects, the reason some patients seem to selectively respond to certain medications and not others, and the reason some patients do not respond at all.
A wide number of new treatment approaches are being explored, including augmentation and combination treatments. As the rapid pace of discovery continues, there will be increased hope for persons having these overwhelming illnesses.
Antidepressant and Antimanic Medications
Combined Medication and Psychotherapy
Treatment-Resistant Mood Disorders
Treatment of Mood Disorders in the Medically Ill Patient
Strategies and Tactics in the Treatment of Depression
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD