Lithium is the only true mood stabilizer used in bipolar disorder treatment. It’s usually used as an anti- mania drug and works miracles for many people. Unfortunately, lithium comes with a myriad of side effects including a risk of kidney problems.
I know people with bipolar disorder who have been on Lithium for 20 years without any adverse side effects. For this reason, Lithium is usually the first drug of choice when a person has a first manic episode. Lithium is a naturally existing salt, which is why drug companies can’t make any profit from Lithium! It’s one of the cheapest drugs on the market.
If you’re lucky enough to respond well to the drug, it’s a good way to prevent mania.
Caveat: It’s not uncommon for those doing well on lithium to think that all is well because they feel so good and haven’t been manic for years. They decide to go off the lithium and the mania shows up very quickly.
Lithium is also used for bipolar disorder depression. My side effects were beyond terrible when I started lithium for my suicidal depression- excessive and terrible! But I was depression free for the first time in over 15 years. I stuck it out and the side effects are much better.
I wouldn’t take lithium if I didn’t have to- but if a person doesn’t want to take big pharma manufactured drugs, lithium is a good choice.