Lithium for Bipolar
2013 Bipolar Update
Lithium for Bipolar Patients
Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses affecting millions of people in the United States and many more all over the world. Moreover, there are thousands of bipolar cases reported each month. As it is a mood disorder, it can be dangerous if left unchecked. Through numerous treatment options available, bipolar patients can live relatively normal lives without worrying about their condition. After a full medical evaluation as well as a review of the individual's medical history, a physician would recommend anti-depressants and mood stabilizers such as lithium for bipolar disorder treatment. These two are the main medications prescribed for bipolar treatment.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by two distinct episodes: mania and depression. Persons with bipolar disorder will experience random shifts between the two. Moreover, those around them may not understand what the individual is suffering from which may lead the individual to withdraw from most if not all social functions.
The function of lithium in treating bipolar disorder is not well understood. However, lithium for bipolar treatments has been well documented for well over 50 years before any research was carried out on its properties. Since its discovery in the early 19th Century, Lithium has been used to help treat mania symptoms in patients with Bipolar disorder. Numerous medical papers have been published to establish this.
In 1998, a paper published by the University of Wisconsin researchers revealed that lithium as a treatment for bipolar disorder works through controlling the levels of glutamate in the nerve cells of the brain. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that is typically sent from one neuron to the next or received by auto-receptors. This forms the basic structure of message delivery in the brain.
The research carried out on lithium for bipolar disorder treatment revealed that lithium is able to stabilize the levels of glutamate between the nerve receptors of the brain. Researchers believe that too much glutamate results in mania while too little results in depression symptoms. As such, lithium for Bipolar Disorder works as an effective treatment for both.
Lithium for Bipolar disorder treatments has since been useful in reducing suicide risks among Bipolar patients. Moreover, numerous studies on the element have proved that it is also useful in the prevention of any future manic episodes and may thus be used as a treatment option for extended periods. This form of therapy is called maintenance therapy.
Lithium for Bipolar Disorder treatments takes about one to two weeks to become effective. However, there are some side-effects associated with this form of therapy. Lithium treatments may affect kidney function. As such, your physician will regularly take blood tests while you are on this treatment option. Moreover, salt and fluid intakes are known to affect the levels of lithium within one's system. As such, the levels of both need to be steady while you are on this treatment.
Since the research was published, other studies have been carried out on the possible effects that Lithium may have on neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease.