Lithium is used to treat manias and severe depression. It is a well known drug that has been used in many individuals with mood disorders. The medication is commonly used in those treating those with bipolar. Lithium may also be used with other antidepressant medication to treat mental illness in patients. For some individuals lithium can be fast acting, working within days, while with others it may take longer to get into their blood stream. Usually, if the medication has not started working within three weeks it is highly unlikely to work for the patient at all.
Lithium does have side effects, but for most people they may never experience any side effects at all. Individuals with kidney problems, and the skin condition psoriasis should be care taking lithium, because it can cause the condition to worsen.
Lithium has been compared to having the same effect as salt; it will make you thirsty. The medication will make you drink a lot more water, and of course cause patients taking the drug to urinate more frequently. Some patients taking lithium experience nausea, but individuals taking a slow acting pill (extended release) usually do not have this problem. Most health care providers will start their patients out on a low dosage to see how their bodies will react to the drug. If needed the drug will gradually be increased, it usually takes a significant amount of lithium in the body to get it mentally stabilized. Individuals taking high dosages will need to be monitored more closely than those on lower dosages.
Edema, which is water retention in the body, has also been associated with taking lithium pills, as well as weight gain. Individuals taking high doses of lithium are more subjected to acquiring kidney damage.
There are some drugs that cannot be mixed with taking lithium such as; certain high blood pressure medication, ibuprofen, a patient will have to have their health monitored closely if taking these medications with lithium.
It is not recommended that lithium patients become pregnant, while taking the medication. Lithium has been known to cause severe abnormalities in a pregnant woman’s fetus.
Individuals, who believe they can benefit from taking lithium, should contact their health care professional. Only health care professionals can diagnose and start a treatment of lithium. Individuals are required to have a medical prescription from their health care provider in order to obtain the medication.