By the way, doctor: What are the side effects of lithium?

Published: March, 2008

Q. What can you tell me about the side effects of lithium?

A. Lithium is a drug most often used to treat people with bipolar disorder (sometimes known as manic-depressive illness), a psychiatric disorder characterized by extreme shifts in mood, from excessively euphoric (mania) to desperately sad or hopeless (depression). In the manic phase, such individuals may be elated, require little sleep, or have inflated notions about themselves. In the depressive phase, they may have low energy, experience changes in eating or sleeping, or feel guilty, hopeless, or suicidal.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »