Essay Lithium and Bipolar Disorder

Essay Lithium and Bipolar Disorder

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Lithium and Bipolar Disorder


The drug lithium has been used for a variety of disorders such as
gout, diabetes, and epilepsy for over 100 years. It was not until
1949 when John Cade discovered that lithium had a calming effect
on guinea pigs that the possibilities of it being used for mania
were explored (Paykel, 1992). Since then, lithium has been
established as one of the primary treatments for manic depression
disorder. In the body of this paper we will explore the chemistry
of lithium, the synaptic transmitters involved, the parts of the
neuron affected, the inhibitory and excitatory potential changes,
the ion channels effected, the physiological changes, the primary
behavior changes, the side effect behavior changes and the effects
reported by users.


Lithium is a chemical element found in group IA of the periodic
table, along with sodium, rubidium, and cesium. Lithium has an
atomic number of 3, and an atomic weight of 6.94. In general,
lithium is more stable than hydrogen, and slightly less stable
than nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen. When looking at chemical ion
properties, it is useful to consider three main characteristics:
the size, or radius, of the ion, the charge, and the ion's
electron affinity. Lithium has a similar charge to radius ratio to
that of magnesium, which is in group IIA of the periodic table,
and so chemists say that the two elements are "chemically
similar." Lithium has low electron affinity in general, but it is
strong compared to other alkali metal cations and therefore is
highly polarizing (Williams, 1973). Lithium is the lightest known
solid element, and when dissolved in liquid ammonia it has the
lowest known dens...

... middle of paper ...

...ruary 27, 2005,
from Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service.

Schildkraut, J.J. 1974. The Effects of Lithium on Norepinephrine
Turnover and Metabolism: Basic and Clinical Studies. Journal of
Nervous Mental Disorders, 8:146.

Shou, Mogens. 1973. Preparations, Dosage and Control. In Gershon,
S. and Baron Shopsin (Eds.), Lithium: its Role in Psychiatric
Research and Treatment. (pp.189). New York: Plenum.

Small, J, and Small, I. 1973. Pharmacology: Neurophysiology of
Lithium. In Gershon, S. and Baron Shopsin (Eds.), Lithium: its
Role in Psychiatric Research and Treatment. (pp.83). New York:

Williams, R.J.P. 1973. The Chemistry and Biochemistry of Lithium.
In Gershon, S. and Baron Shopsin (Eds.), Lithium: its Role in
Psychiatric Research and Treatment. (pp. 15). New York: Plenum.

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