Bipolar Disorder

  • Alan J. Gelenberg
  • Stephen C. Schoonover


Lithium (Eskalith® and others), a naturally occurring salt, has been used for various medical purposes since the 1800s. Initially, it was given to patients who suffered from urinary calculi and gout. Later, it was combined with bromides and used as a sedative. In 1949, Cade observed that lithium calmed agitated psychotic patients: ten manic patients responded, six schizophrenic and chronically depressed psychotic patients did not, and one patient’s symptoms reappeared after lithium was stopped.1 During this same period, lithium was introduced in the United States as a salt substitute for cardiac patients, but it caused numerous toxic reactions and several deaths. Thus, even with the emergence of convincing evidence that lithium was safe and effective in manic depressive illness, it was not accepted in the United States until 1970.


Bipolar Disorder Mood Disorder Antipsychotic Drug Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Antipsychotic Agent 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan J. Gelenberg
    • 1
  • Stephen C. Schoonover
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Arizona Health Sciences CenterTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Newton CentreSchoonover AssociatesUSA

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