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Lithium is a medication used to treat bipolar disorder as well as other mood disorders. Its superior efficacy in preventing episodes of mania and depression makes it the gold standard mood stabilizer. It is one of the few treatments known to reduce the risk of suicide behavior. Lithium is also an unusual drug. It is a simple element, the third smallest atom; it has multiple physiological effects, but it is not known which ones are responsible for its therapeutic actions. This entry reviews the history and epidemiology of lithium use, discusses the clinical use of lithium, and describes its side effects and mechanism of action.

History

Lithium is one of the oldest mental health treatments. Several authors pointed to its benefits in various forms of mood ...

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