Lithium Side Effects

Lithium Side Effects

Lithium side effects mentioned here will refer to synthetic compound versions produced and marketed by pharmaceutical companies. 


Organic lithium is available in health food stores, and certain foods, whereas synthetic lithium compound drugs can only be obtained through prescription, and carry significant risks of toxicity and psychoactivity due to their potency. The Alternative to Meds Center does not endorse the use of any particular version of lithium but can treat those who have had trouble with side effects after using lithium, and we also provide alternative treatments for mental health issues besides prescription drugs. 

Background Information on Lithium

Lithium is named from the Latin "lithos," meaning stone, and is a metal found in certain mineral deposits/rocks. Chemists rank it as the lightest of all metals, and the lightest of all solid elements on earth. Oxygen exposure quickly tarnishes lithium crystals from their lustrous white color to a corroded dark grey. Chemists synthesize Lithium into "salts" that are used to produce pharmaceutical drugs, and other industrial products. 

The nucleus of lithium is extremely unstable, which allowed early nuclear physicists to produce the first thermonuclear bombs ever made.  Today Lithium is also widely used to make lithium batteries, ultrahightemperature glazing paints, and fuel for thermonuclear weapons. 

Researchers have reported that geographical location can affect concentrations of lithium in water, soil, and crops, with specific areas having more or less availability. Some research even suggests that regions, where lithium occurs in the highest concentrations, tend to have the lowest rates of depression and violent crime. 

As an interesting historical note, Lithia water (water from naturally occurring mineral pools containing traces of lithium) used to be added to cola drinks, 7up, and some beers.  The original name for 7up was "Lithiated Lemonlime Drink". Coka Cola in earlier times could be purchased under its previous name, "Lithia Coke" but the FDA banned this practice c.1950.  Lithia water has hundreds of times less the concentration than a minimum psychiatric dose of lithium compounds, but the FDA did not ban Lithium from prescription use. 

Lithium (Synthesized) in Pharmaceutical Drugs 

We ingest lithium naturally from certain foods, such as potatoes, grains, beef, pork, green vegetables, tomatoes, eggs, lemons and dairy products, and others.  A healthy body needs 2 or 3 mg. of lithium.  When used in prescription drugs, the therapeutic dosage to treat moodstabilizing manias, or lifting depression is approximately 9001800 mg per day, which comes dangerously close to a toxic level.  High doses are needed to create the moodstabilizing effect.  However, since the therapeutic and toxic levels are very close, doctors must caution their patients to monitor signs of toxicity on a daily basis.  

Signs of Lithium Toxicity:

  • Seizures
  • Clumsiness
  • Convulsions
  • Blurred vision
  • Thirst
  • Marked increase in urination (body response by flushing out toxic levels)
  • Diarrhea (flushing out toxic levels)
  • Tremors, severe trembling
  • Ataxia (inability to coordinate voluntary muscles, loss of muscle control)
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle twitches, tics
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nystagmus (involuntary oscillation or jerking back and forth motion of the eyeball)

Common Side Effects Below Toxicity Levels:

  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sudden loss of strength 
  • Memory loss
  • Inability to focus
  • Swollen painful joints 
  • Please note many Lithium side effects are also signs of toxicity. Careful monitoring is essential. 

Holistic Mental Health Protocols Are Available

The Alternative to Meds Center has been providing holistic mental health treatment for bipolar, depression, anxiety, addictions, and many other conditions. Sometimes prescription drugs can help temporarily, but observation indicates that they can also cause more troubles than existed beforehand. Walking back from prescription drug damage can be disheartening and can test a person beyond what they can handle. We can help. 

You are invited to contact the Alternative to Meds Center to find out more about the Lithium withdrawal programs we offer for stabilizing neurochemistry, cleansing neurotoxicity, and many other aspects of our holistic mental health programs. Major insurance companies typically cover at least a portion of the fees. Call today and find out how we can help you or your loved one to regain health after the disappointment and severe discomforts caused by lithium side effects.


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