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For more than 40 years, Li+ has been used to treat mania. While it is relatively inert in individuals without a mood disorder, lithium carbonate is effective in 60 to 80% of all acute manic episodes within 5 to 21 days of beginning treatment. Because of its delayed onset of action in the manic patient, Li+ is often used in conjunction with low doses of high-potency anxiolytics (e.g., lo-razepam) and antipsychotics (e.g. haloperidol) to stabilize the behavior of the patient. Over time, increased therapeutic responses to Li+ allow for a gradual reduction in the amount of anxiolytic or neuroleptic required, so that eventually Li+ is the sole agent used to maintain control of the mood disturbance.

In addition to its acute actions, Li+ can reduce the frequency of manic or depressive episodes in the bipolar patient and therefore is considered a mood-stabilizing agent. Accordingly, patients with bipolar disorder are often maintained on low stabilizing doses of Li+ indefinitely as a prophylaxis to future mood disturbances. Antidepressant medications are required in addition to Li+ for the treatment of breakthrough depression.

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Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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