As I have stated in other articles I have bi-polar disorder also called manic depression. This illness is typified by being in a very good mood one day and down the next. It can last for long periods of time or happen several times in a day. This is termed “rapid cycling.” Far and away the medication for largest number of people with manic depression is Lithium. Lithium is a mood stabilizer which keeps a person from having wide mood swings. While it seems that it would be mostly affective with the mania part of the illness it turns out that it is also a very effective stabilizer for depression.
Depression exhibits feeling down in terms of mood but internally it can be a lack of certain hormones such as serotonin and it can also be a reflection of a lack of salt or salts. Sometimes by trial and error a doctor will use lithium for depression.
There is three percent of the population that does not respond to lithium and must use a different medication such as Depakote which also is used for seizures.
Allow me to give you my own experience with Lithium.
I was in a deep, deep depression and actually walked out of a well-paying job. I simply stayed in bed for about a month until finally my wife threatened me and I went to a psychiatrist. He talked to me for about three minutes and said I had deep depression for sure and perhaps bi-polar. He started me on lithium. I was to drink eight glasses of water a day because that is what it takes for lithium to work. Less water than that can make lithium less effective and can give the patient side effects.
I began the therapy and it went well. I cam out of the depression and began to function. However my wife complained that I became somewhat “robotic” not showing a lot of emotion. Then the psychiatrist started me on an anti-depressant along with the lithium. It worked for awhile.
After three years a combination of things happened. I began to be less diligent about the water and exercising. The lithium seemed to be doing less for me. Another psychiatrist put me on Depakote which has worked for me ever since that time which was about fifteen years ago.
Usually when lithium is prescribed it is for a long-term illness, long-term depression.
When taking lithium it is always a good idea to have someone you know monitoring the fact you are taking it. Often when people are in a deep depression they can be suicidal. The biggest danger for people taking lithium is to discontinue it or take it on a spotty basis. That is the biggest thing that stands in the way of recovery of people with deep depression taking lithium.
Personal Experience and Knowledge