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  • Writer's picturethe bipolar talker

Lithium Carbonate - Medication Review

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

Previous Dosage: 500 mg/day, 500 mg/night

Current Dosage: None


Lithium is the drug that I used for the longest period of time to manage bipolar disorder and it is known to be one of the best treatments out there to manage manic depression.



If you don't know much about bipolar disorder, a great place to start is by reading this 2 min read:


Lithium is a mood stabilizer - it stops you from going into a depressive state or a manic one. Because of its simple molecule structure, I also feel that it is very safe. Although, you do need to monitor your lithium levels for the entire time you are on lithium. This is because you don't want to poison your body with more lithium than it can handle so you want to monitor it. The dosage of lithium is based on your medical condition, lithium blood levels and response to treatment.


Side effects for lithium include:

  • Drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Increased thirst and appetite

  • Increased frequency of urination

  • Weight gain

  • Mild tremors

These should go away as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly especially the ones mentioned below.


Severe side effects include:


The good parts:

  • Gave me the ability to be productive and achieve high marks at university. (This was not a study drug type situation, it simply allowed me to be normal enough to continue studying).

  • Is known to reduce the amount of manic episodes that you have. The entire time I was on lithium I did not have a manic episode.

  • stopped me from getting depressed aswell (bonus).

  • Is known as one of the most effective ways to treat manic depression.


The not so good parts:

  • Weight gain - you feel more thirsty all the time which means you are more susceptible to overeating.

  • It stopped me sometimes from feeling anything at all, made me very impersonable.

  • I was so tired, like a zombie - not even wanting to communicate half the time.

  • Loss of sex drive.

  • Tremors of the hand and twitching of the eye although these quietened once my body got used to some of the medications.

  • Have to get blood tests regularly the entire time you are on lithium because it is most effective when the levels are consistent over a long period of time. To ensure that, you need blood tests - no way around it.


I know the side effects may seem terrible but the fact that it is does such a great job at stopping both manic and depressive episodes make it an awesome drug of choice.


What has your experience with lithium been like? Please add it in the comments below to add to this resource for people that may be looking for more information on lithium.


Before Lithium, I was on Sodium Valproate for a period of six months. If you liked this medication review and would like to read other medication reviews, let me know!





Resources




Disclaimer

This website provides well-researched articles on bipolar disorder but does not substitute tailored professional advice. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in the entry and feel concerned, contact your GP or call the Mental Health Access Line on 1800 011 511. In the case of an emergency, call 000.


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