Lithium, a mood stabilizer, is one of the most common medication treatments for bipolar disorder. It helps lessen the frequency and severity of mania. It also helps with bipolar depression.
Here are the pros and cons of taking lithium to treat bipolar disorder:
1. Lithium stabilizes ones mood. This bipolar disorder medication impacts a person’s central nervous system and helps a bipolar person better control their emotions. This helps slow down the ups and downs of bipolar mania and bipolar depression.
2. Lithium reduces suicide risk. When taken properly, lithium helps reduce suicide risk in a bipolar patient. It also prevents manic episodes. It is a major plus to stick with this medication as prescribed, because the bipolar suicide risk is about 15 percent. Any decrease in suicide risk, the greater chance at survival.
3. Sometimes lithium can be taken alone. For some bipolar patients, a doctor may find that they can use lithium alone as their bipolar medication treatment. This reduced the number of medications one has to worry about taking daily streamlining the treatment process.
1. Lithium takes one or two weeks to work. One down side to taking lithium to treat bipolar disorder is that it takes a week or two to work its way through the system. If you have been prescribed this medication, continue to take it to give it a chance to work for you.
2. It can affect kidney function. Bipolar disorder patients on lithium treatment will have to take regular blood tests because the medication can affect kidney function. It works best if it remains at a consistent level in the body. A bipolar patient on lithium is also encouraged to drink at least eight glasses of water and to have some regular salt intake.
3. Lithium has its side effects. There are a number of side effects that can result from taking lithium. About 75 of people may experience side effects with some decreasing as the drug works its way throughout the system. These lithium side effects include- diarrhea, vomiting, weight gain, hand tremor, increased thirst and urination, poor concentration, muscle weakness, hair loss, drowsiness and decreased thyroid function.
Those that experience side effects from lithium should consult a doctor before changing the dosage. Give the medication some time to work through your system. You may be pleased with how well it works for you to manage your bipolar disorder, or you may not. It is worth a shot.