Lithium and Bipolar Disorder

Lithium and Bipolar DisorderBipolar disorder is often an extremely complicated illness to treat; however, some medications can make the treatment process incredibly beneficial.

As one of the most highly regarded medications for this particular illness, lithium works to impact sodium levels in both nerve and muscle cells, which helps control manic episodes in bipolar individuals. Despite the many benefits that lithium can produce, many prescribing doctors and therapists choose to utilize more popular antipsychotic drugs that have less potential for causing painful side effects. Therefore, lithium is not always prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, despite its proven benefits.

Benefits of Lithium in Bipolar Disorder Treatment

While little is yet known about some of the ways in which lithium works, there are noticeable benefits that encourage the continual use of this drug for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Some of the most notable benefits of lithium include the following:

  • Suicide risk reduction – Many individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder find themselves struggling with suicidal thoughts and tendencies as a result of the depressive symptoms of their disorder. Because lithium can help stabilize an individual’s mood, he or she becomes less likely to experience these tendencies and is able to work through the disorder in a successful manner.
  • Decreased mania – The main goal in the use of lithium is to help reduce the presence of mania, a state of mind that occurs at random where an individual experiences a heightened sense of euphoria, irritability, increased sex drive, pressured speech, distractibility and impulsivity. As an individual’s body becomes accustomed to lithium, he or she will notice a major decrease in manic symptoms.

Lithium is an excellent form of treatment for bipolar disorder, and its many benefits include decreasing the symptoms of both mania and depression in an individual.

Controversial Side Effects

As is the case with many medications, there are side effects associated with the use of lithium, many of which are uncomfortable. These side effects generally dissuade doctors and therapists from prescribing this medication. They may fear that patients will not continue to take a medication that makes them feel sick or has negative side effects. Nearly 75 percent of patients who take lithium experience side effects, including the following:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Muscle weakness and hand tremors
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Decreased thyroid function

These unpleasant side effects often cause patients to stop taking their medication, which results in the continuation of their disorder.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Every individual has specialized needs when it comes to the treatment of bipolar disorder. Therefore, it is important that he or she gets the professional attention that is best suited for his or her condition. This can include a lithium regiment; however, for those patients who are more sensitive to negative side effects, additional treatment is available that can be very beneficial.

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to get the help you deserve. Do not live one more day without getting treatment for your disorder. Call us today.