Essay on The Efficacy of Lithium in Treating Bipolar Disorder

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The Efficacy of Lithium in Treating Bipolar Disorder

Lithium is a psychotropic drug that became available in
1970 as a mood stabilizing medication for the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder. It has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of manic states, as well as the depression that is concomitant with bipolar disorder. Much research has been done in the short duration of lithium's employment to evaluate its efficacy and side effects.
As stated above, "Lithium stabilizes the mood of a bipolar patient, preventing a relapse into either mania or depression"
(Kalat, 2004, p.472). Bipolar disorder (also known as manic- depressive illness), is characterized by the presence of the following symptoms: motor
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Prior to pursuing treatment for these symptoms however, the type of bipolar disorder a person has should be clarified. People who have a history of manic episodes are diagnosed as bipolar I depressives, while bipolar II depression is characterized by a history of hypomania, which can go undetected. The main difference between hypomania and mania is that the former induces rapid thoughts which lead to feelings of euphoric elation and omnipotence, whereas rapid thoughts in the latter induce feelings of anger, fear, confusion, and uncontrollability. It is important to remember that people suffering from bipolar disorder often have periods of normal behavior in between their mania and depression. It is the abnormal behaviors that lithium aims to modify, and several primary behavior changes occur once a patient is on lithium treatment. To begin, the Food and Drug Administration warns that lithium is harmful to the offspring of pregnant and nursing mothers (2005, 5). The FDA further warns that, "the ability to tolerate lithium is greater during the acute manic phase and decreases when symptoms subside" (2005, 8). Therefore, in order to avoid neurotoxicity from lithium which can lead to fatality, patients must consult a physician regularly to be sure they are not consuming excessive doses. Lithium appears to be the most effective

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