Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by episodes of mania (feeling very happy and active to the point of not wanting to sleep or rest) and severe depression. Well, usually people with bipolar disorder are given treatment with lithium. Lithium is a reliable drug for acute mania and treatment treatment. In addition, lithium is reported to reduce suicide risk in patients with bipolar disorder. Speaking of lithium for bipolar disorder, there are some unique and interesting facts about this drug.
1. Lithium was used to treat gout
The history of lithium as a drug cannot be separated from gout. The salt content of the element found in 1817 has been used to treat gout. Unfortunately, gout patients treated with lithium don't improve. This drug can actually control the symptoms of mania in gout patients. As a result in the late 1800s, lithium was used for acute mania.
2. Are mental disorders caused by lack of lithium?
In a previous study, it was not known whether bipolar disorder was caused by a lack of lithium. Then, in 1989, Schrauzer and Shrestha published a paper entitled "Lithium in Drinking Water and the Incidences of Crimes, Suicides, and Arrests Related to Drug Addictions."
They took a sample of lithium in the waters of Texas, United States (US). According to statistics, it seems that regions with higher levels of lithium in the water indicate a low incidence of killings, suicides, and criminal acts triggered by the consumption of illegal drugs.
A similar study was conducted in Japan by taking lithium samples from waters in 18 regions for five years. Apparently, the suicide rate in regions with high lithium content was reported to be lower than other regions.
Therefore, the researchers suspect that the content of this compound might be able to control several symptoms of mental disorders, including those triggered by the use of illegal drugs. However, further research and clinical trials are still needed to prove what is really a mental disorder caused by a lack of lithium levels in the body.
3. Your drink may contain lithium
The lithium element used to treat bipolar disorder apparently can also be found in tap water. So, if you consume or drink boiled tap water, the water may contain certain levels of lithium. You can check it by bringing a tap water sample from home to be tested at the local health service laboratory.
However, don't worry because actually the element of lithium doesn't harm the body. Lithium is a natural element, not a man-made element engineered in the laboratory like other drugs. Even a study in Denmark shows the potential of lithium in drinking water to prevent dementia (senility or reduced cognitive function of the brain).
Even in the early 1900s, a US citizen, Charles Leipe Grigg mixed lithium in soda. Charles believes that the content can make people who drink artificial soda feel better or their mood increases. However, then the content of this compound is eliminated from beverage production.
4. How does lithium treat bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is caused by an abnormality or dysfunction in the brain. For example hormone production is not balanced or disorders of the nervous system that regulate mood, emotions, mindset, and behavior.
Well, lithium entering the body will work in the central nervous system which is located in the brain. This element then works by strengthening the connections between nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for regulating the mood, emotions, mindset, and behavior of people with bipolar disorder.
However, usually new lithium will work effectively several weeks after you first took the medication your doctor prescribed. The use of these drugs must also be routinely monitored by doctors and health workers because these drugs have direct effects on the brain.
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