Lithium, or as it’s known by the brand names of eskalith, and lithobid, is used in the treatment of depressive disorders and manic depressive (bipolar) disorders. The way lithium works is by attaching to cells and interfering in certain cellular activities. Lithium helps neurotransmitters to create the mood altering chemicals in the brain and prevent the reuptake of these same chemicals, which helps to stabilize a person’s mood, and affects the levels of serotonin and tryptophan in the brain. Lithium was approved by the food and drug administration in 1970 even though it was commonly used before that.
The dosage of lithium is different for each person, the lithium within the blood stream is constantly tested and dosages changed in correspondence to these levels. Within the early stages of taking lithium your dosage can be changed frequently at different intervals anywhere’s from a couple days to a week depending on your levels.
Some side effects of lithium are hand tremors, dry mouth, altered taste, weight gain, increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, mild nausea or vomiting, impotence, decreased libido, diarrhea, and kidney abnormalities. If you continue to vomit and your urination stays frequent you run the risk of becoming dehydrated, which could bring about possible lithium toxicity. If you become weak and tired, your muscles feel weak or they twitch, you feel confused, have slurred speech or trouble walking it could mean there is an excess of lithium within your blood stream and that your dosage should be checked and possibly lowered. It is possible while taking lithium that you may develop a goiter, about one in every 25 people, which is a swelling of the thyroid gland and can cause thyroid problems such as drying of the skin, hair loss, swelling of limbs, and a feeling of being cold.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.