Question: How long do I have to take medication for bipolar disorder, and can I stop if I no longer have symptoms?
Answer: When it comes to the length of treatment, we have some very sobering news for folks who have bipolar disorder. And the news is as follows -- bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, and if you're fortunate enough to find a treatment that makes the illness go away and stay away, you will probably have to take medication -- the medication that got you well -- for the rest of your life. So I know this is probably hard sometimes for you all to understand and to accept, but what we know is this -- this is not like treating pneumonia.
With pneumonia you start an antibiotic, you kill the bug, a couple of weeks you're done. With bipolar disorder what we know is that there's excellent treatment, but if you stop the treatment, you're probably going to relapse.