Lithium is a mood stabilizer used to treat bipolar disorder and major depression. It is widely prescribed, but there are still many common misconceptions about its use. Here are three myths often perpetuated about lithium.

Myth #1: The Effects of Lithium Are Instant

Lithium treatment needs to be started slowly as the concentration of lithium in the bloodstream increases slowly over time until it eventually reaches therapeutic levels. If lithium levels are too low in your blood, it may not work. If the levels are too high, it can be dangerous.

Once the correct amount of lithium enters the bloodstream, it can still take one to three weeks for the medication to work. If someone is experiencing mania, they may need to be on a faster-working medication until the effects of lithium begin to show. Once lithium starts working, the other medication can be tapered off.

Myth #2: Lithium Is a Dangerous Drug

All psychiatric medications can have serious side effects. Before you start lithium, it is essential to talk with your doctor about the benefits, side effects, and alternative treatments if it does not work.

Even if the person taking the medication is in a position where they psychologically cannot make decisions, they should still be included in talks with their doctor. If they discover that one medication works better than another, their preference should be honored.

Myth #3: We Know Exactly the Way Lithium Works

Lithium is a complex medication used to treat mental health disorders. We know that lithium affects the movement of sodium across nerve and muscle cells. This can change the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and affect how nerve cells send and receive messages.

However, every medication has limitations that are important for someone to know to make an informed decision. By knowing the truth about lithium, you will have an idea if it is right for you.

Lithium is a mood stabilizer used to treat depression and bipolar disorder. Myths such as lithium being too strong or even fast-acting can influence a person’s decision to give the drug a chance. By understanding the truth about lithium, you can see if this medication will help your mental health going forward. At Alta Loma, we understand the importance of finding the right medication for your mental health, and we are here to help you. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can offer you medication management, individualized therapy, coping skills, education, and more. Call (866) 457-3843 for more information.