Most bipolar patients take a combination of the above drugs – often referred to as their medication “cocktail.” It can take a long time to find the right cocktail – for me it was 8 years – not uncommon. Not only do you have to find the right combination of medication but the dosages have to be right as well. Then there is your own illness and the changes that occur in your brain. As things change, medication adjustments need to be made. It's an ongoing battle. Right now my cocktail consists of six different meds (not to mention the ones for side effects) – some people have more and the lucky ones have found a way to balance their moods with less. It can be very frustrating taking so many medications. There are times when I have thrown my pill case across the room.
Then there are the side effects to deal with. Some of those require even more medication. Some make your life difficult like weight gain and nausea. It is important to educate yourself about each of your medications and their side effects. But the bottom line is to work with your doctor to find the best cocktail for you – then stick with it. Never change your medication without talking to your doctor first. Compliance is important.