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how to get off lithium

Lithium Withdrawal

Alternative to Meds Center knows that other answers are available besides continuing a life of being medicated on Lithium and dealing with Lithium withdrawal symptoms or other side effects. Our rehab program employs Lithium withdrawal help to overcome symptoms and get to the bottom of mental health symptoms.

According to some research studies, Lithium withdrawal syndrome does not exist and a relapse of mania upon discontinuation is not considered a symptom of withdrawal. This is based on how the term “withdrawal” is used in most situations, such as when an individual has become dependent on something, like nicotine. Upon discontinuing that something, the individual wants to take more of it to suppress withdrawal as they experience symptoms collectively referred to as withdrawal syndrome.

Never Stop Lithium Cold Turkey

There are many reports of users who encounter withdrawal symptoms as well as a relapse of mania or other mental health symptoms. A relapse of mania or other related symptoms that are caused by Lithium discontinuation are commonly described as the body’s effort to become adjusted to the nonexistence of Lithium, which the individual’s body has become adapted to. These symptoms, like symptoms of other drug withdrawal, can make a person feel so uncomfortable that they crave the medication in order to feel normal and relieve discomfort.

What is Lithium Prescribed to Treat?

Lithium carbonate is prescribed for the treatment of various psychiatric conditions, including manic depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity disorder, and additional conditions, particularly conditions that can cause patients to experience mania. This medication should not be withdrawn from without professional Lithium withdrawal treatment.

Gentle, Gradual Lithium Withdrawal Recommended

Studies have shown that relapse of mania is primarily found in instances where the use of this drug was stopped abruptly or during a short time period. So even though it may be contrary to certain studies, there are patients who encounter withdrawal symptoms as well as long-lasting effects from Lithium discontinuation. We have observed that patients can experience symptoms of withdrawal and mania.1

Lithium Side Effects

lithium withdrawal

There are other side effects that may arise as well. Antipsychotic side effects can be very bothersome or even dangerous, therefore side effects are sometimes the reasons why a person chooses to, or must, go through antipsychotic withdrawal. Lithium withdrawal effects can be made tolerable and much easier to deal with when there is medical Lithium withdrawal help and supervision all throughout the process, from beginning to end. Our antipsychotic withdrawal treatment program provides 24-hour care that is available from start to finish.

Lithium side effects include tremors (shakiness) in the hands, loss of appetite, lack of coordination or weakness, upset stomach, vomiting or nausea, and constipation. This antipsychotic drug may also cause hair to dry or thin out, and cause the skin to be itchy. These side effects reportedly may persist for quite some time after the drug is discontinued, as this medication can take many weeks to completely exit the system. This is why it can be very important to make sure you have the right help by your side to guide you through this process.

Gentle, Gradual Lithium Withdrawal at the Alternative to Meds Center

At the Alternative to Meds Center treatment facility, we employ many methods to successfully withdrawal from antipsychotic medications:First, we do lab testing to see what the causes of the original issues may be. Usually, we find toxicity to be our problem.

Toxicity may result from environment, or genetics, but we then focus on the removal of toxic substances. We restrict sugar, processed foods, and caffeine and administer supplements that are specifically beneficial for persons in this situation.

Our program aims to stabilize the neurochemistry before beginning the tapering. This is accomplished by using natural substances, as well as rid accumulative environmental toxins, apply targeted nutritional therapies; amino acid treatment, peer support, yoga, massage, personal training, exercise and many other natural therapies that will address anticipated symptoms. When the individual feels stable, calm and sedated from these therapies, their medication can be decreased slowly and adjusted if needed.

To Find Out More

Please call us to find out more about the Lithium withdrawal program offered at the Alternative to Meds Center.

  1. Article/abstract by Richard Balon, Vikram K. Yeraganiab, Robert B. Pohlab, Samuel Gershonab, entitled “Lithium Discontinuation – Withdrawal or Relapse?,” published by Elsevier Inc., accessed October 22, 2019.


This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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