But the drugs themselves are no easy solution for people suffering from bipolar disorder, says Laurel Lemke, 54, of Lakewood, Wash., who says she experienced "cognitive dulling" on lithium, so much so that switched to another medication when she wanted to try to go to graduate school. "You have to weigh the downside of the drugs against having a life in an institution," she says.
SSRIs may not help
The statistical analysis confirmed what a quick look at the numbers suggests: The antidepressant didn't add anything to the benefits of the mood stabilizer. In fact, the people taking only a mood stabilizer plus placebo did a little better than the people who took an antidepressant plus a mood stabilizer.