User Reviews for Lithium to treat Depression
Brand names: Lithium Carbonate ER, Lithobid
Lithium has an average rating of 6.1 out of 10 from a total of 54 ratings for the off-label treatment of Depression. 50% of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 37% reported a negative experience.
Reviews for Lithium
"This "old-fashioned" medication lithium was a lifesaver for me (I have depression) and I've taken it for years and years with absolutely no side effects or adverse events. To my mind there's nothing like it (in fact, it's the ONLY true mood stabilizer) and I've been on too many medications and combinations to count. This is the only drug that's given me relief from suicidal depression."
"Lithium has changed my daughters life. She has had emotional problems with psychomotor retardation and speech problems since a toddler. It was not until her mid 30's that they tried her on Lithium. She can now converse in a normal manner and makes good decisions. Her intelligence and sense of humor are apparent for the first time ever. We are both over the moon. This medication has been the answer to my prayers."
"First of all, I don’t know my exact diagnosis. I’ve seen many psychiatrists over the past 8 years. I do know that I did have recurrent suicidal thoughts (daily). I attempted suicide for the first time when I was 16. I have been on many many medications from antipsychotics to benzos and of course tons of anti depressants. At the age of 26 I finally go prescribed Wellbutrin with what I consider the miracle drug LITHIUM. I’ve just been so productive, generally happy all within a single week! Slight nausea first few days but that went away. My family is amazed at my progress with lithium"
Frequently asked questions
"I've been on 600mg lithium for nearly 2 years and it has done nothing (what's so ever) to help with my depression and suicidal thoughts. My doc has only upped my dose today to 800mg, so let's see if that works. A lot of my depression stems from how I was brought up and I don't think medication can take that away. I've even been seeing a private psychotherapist for over 4 years, as helpful as it can be I'm still very depressed. I think it's this world we live in - it is depressing. I have hobbies and play music, I have a boyfriend and a couple of friends but I still can't help feeling the way I do. There's days I where I don't wash and I'm in bed for about a week at a time until I feel good again. No matter what I do or say to myself I just can't fine the motivation to do anything! I used to have a career and work hard for living and now I can't bare the thought of stepping put the door most days. I'll keep you all updated about my new dose and if it makes a difference. All the best x"
"I have depression, anxiety and ADHD. I’ve been trying to find the right meds for me for a decade. My moods were out of control and would swing to extreme ends of the spectrum regularly. I also was having almost constant suicidal thoughts. My new psychiatrist made the decision to try me on lithium combined with my depression medicine (effexor) and literally after just a week of taking it I saw results. I felt like a brand new person. When people say this drug is a life saver they are not lying. If you feel as nothing is working for you there is hope, things do get better!"
"Lithium is my Wonder Drug. I'm 51, was depressed on & off for years, had major depression for 7+ years, & have been suicidal since age 7. The last 2 years were exhausting trying to stay ahead of the suicidal pull in spite of entering therapy & getting medicated. I finally asked my psychiatrist for ANY aggressive treatment -- regardless of the severity of the side effects -- because I was going to lose the battle. He asked me to try Lithium, first. Within a month, I had ZERO desire to kill myself. Side effects: Major leg tremors (I take Effexor). I feel a little flat, but NO complaints; I can't REMEMBER the last time I wasn't suicidal, DAILY. I'm STUNNED at how this "alternative" feels & am glad I held on long enough to experience it."
"I was on many anti-depressants and none of them helped with my suicidal thoughts except lithium. Some medications I was on made me better, but very flat and emotionless. For me, lithium only takes the sharp edges off the bad emotions and leaves room for good (but not manic) ones. I had slight hand tremors for about a year after starting this, which was annoying but not incapacitating. They are gone now. I also gained about 10 pounds during the first few months, but lost it easily and I am now lighter than when I started. People used to tell me: Oh you'll gain so much weight, but it is mostly water weight because you get very thirsty. Overall, my quality of life is much, much better. Also you can safely stay on lithium for years."
"Over the years I've been on many antidepressants. Sadly none worked until I started Lithium. I have far fewer terrible days and less suicidal thoughts. It's not perfect. I get a dry mouth and for the first day or two I constantly needed to pee. That's all stopped now and for me it's truly a life saver."
"I have been on lithium at a dose of 2 x 600 mg daily since 4 months. Combined with Wellbutrin 300 mg and Lyrica 2 x 75 mg. Aside from a few light side effects (mostly a fine tremor and a bit scatterbrained) the first 3 weeks, it started working after about 2 weeks. Now I have no side effects and my mood is better and totally stabile, I haven’t felt this good since about 4 years and I am so thankful. My depression is finally gone, I have so much energy and getting out of bed isn’t a problem anymore. Finally my suicide thoughts are completely gone. I wish that I would have started this medication years ago (like my doctor advised). But, I will definitely continue taking Lithium, I’ve been advised to take it at least 2-3 years. That’s fine with me!"
"I have to say Lithium has change my life for the good. I started taking this med, just 5 days ago and it's like I got my life back. I have paranoid schizophrenia and major depression and borderline personality disorder. The past 8 years were literally like hell on earth for me. I've tried so many different medication and nothing really worked for me. The first time I took my Lithium I felt like more in tuned on what's going on. Now I'm on day 5 and my racing thoughts are pretty much gone. My depression is vanishing. My voice's are at a minimum. My anixiety from going out in public has been getting better and better. It actually boost's my confidence. My energy level has gone way up. I'm generally more happier and more at peace."
"Tried a lot of SSRIs before a doctor prescribed a medium dose of lithium. Can't even describe how much better I feel. I used to feel so stuck by my depression and am now able to do so much more with my life. My sex drive dropped off a little but I'm not otherwise feeling flat from it. Didn't have any of the weight gain or shaking side effects. Changed my life."
"I've been on 400mg lithium carbonate for nearly a year, before that I was getting episodes of suicidal depression every 3 or 4 months despite being on anti-depressants. Since I went on lithium I haven't had anything but slight low mood. I get a hand tremor at times, mild muscle pain and heartburn, but it's a lot preferable to being in that dark pit of despair."
"Used Lithium liquid form for 1 month and then 700 mg capsule daily for 8 months. Experienced: brain on fire, confusion, unable to: speak, think, and slow mental physical reaction. Woke up shaking. Urinated very frequently. Drank lots of water to reduce the side effects and symptoms. Smoked a lot more cigarettes. Felt like so sick. Drooled and moved very slow. Felt like a zombie. Had muscle weakness. Paranoid thinking. Made me very confessional. Been off this chemical for 3 months and can now write, think, and move faster again. I had reconnected with GOD. The only positive was finding GOD and praying for life again. I was just a spirit in a body that would barely function."
"I have attempted suicide three times in my life. The first two times were before I knew of Lithium and the third was when I took a break from Lithium, foolishly thinking I had gotten better. Lithium, at 900mg, almost completely eliminates the suicidal ideation. Symptoms of depression still present, however much better. Side effects I have had are weight gain (5 lbs?), frequent urination/thirst, thinning of my hair and sometimes I feel tired. I'll take these side effects any day over how I used to feel. This medicine has kept me alive. If you have recurring suicidal ideation, I would highly recommend."
"This medicine works great for what it's used for I'm Bipolar 1 but Lithium+ SSRI (Prozac/Fluoxetine) has fixed my treatment resistant severe bipolar depression with Suicidal thoughts I'm balanced again I also take Seroquel And I feel stable again no highs lows or mixed states. I'm finally me again . I can think with a clearer mind 10/10 ."
"I just started Lithium at 600mg for depression. I’ve tried SO many antidepressants over this seven year depressive episode. I’ve felt emotionally flat, have trouble concentrating and remembering things, and live in a brain fog. It’s been especially devastating since I was forced to leave a wonderful career due to this illness. My psychiatrist finally referred me to a world-renowned doctor. This doctor responded to me within two days. He said that Lithium along with Spravado and intensive TMS is the appropriate treatment. (The TMS is done for 9 minutes, 10(!) times a day for 5 days. This protocol is approved and has conducted studies on it.) He also said that side effects such as weight gain and tremors are minimal and occur if the dosage is above the therapeutic level. I’m, of course, going to take regular blood tests. I am so thankful that I’m receiving excellent care. Will report on progress."
"I have tried so many antidepressants over the last two years and actually found them to only increase the severity of my depression. I found one that helped finally but still felt symptoms of depression creeping in. I asked my Dr to augment with lithium and it worked! My fatigue is nonexistent now and I feel like I can handle life now. At first I was so thirsty that I could drink the entire Atlantic Ocean with a straw. It has since improved--but I learned that no matter how much I drink, I'm still going to have some thirst so I don't over do it. My mouth is dry and I have a very slight tremor in my hands but it's a small price to pay----now I get to live instead of just survive. :) Ps aincrease your dose slowly to minimize side effects"
"My mother tried ECT, every Benzo and every antidepressant Finally 900 mg lithium combined with lyrica cured her She is super thirsty but all in all doing amazing I use to cry every night about her and think she never get better but lithium changed her life Before we went through years of hell trying to find her the right combination. Her anxiety was manic and her depression so flat and low. Lithium cured the flatness and lyrica gets rid of the anxiety but it does cause some fat ankles and hands"
"I have major depression and borderline personality traits (Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) has helped), and chronic suicidal thoughts for over 30 years. I am on Mirtazapine 30mg, Bupropion XL 300mg for over two years. Because of my suicidal thoughts my Dr put me on lithium three weeks ago. She started with 300mg then went up to 600mg. They only bad side affect for me was a very dry mouth. After 2 weeks of being on it it started feeling wonderful! And it helped my suicidal thoughts tremendously. I felt so much better and have more energy ! Then she decided to bump me up to 900mg per day. The only side effect I feel is, I feel like there is pressure on my brain. I'm hoping this is going to go away like my dry mouth. I also am not sleeping well either."
"Like most of you I had tried all of regular anti depressants until I found the lithium. As an major depression patient the most dismal and horrible thing about depression is brain fog that the lithium doesn't eliminate it completely. Some drs say it's has to be a combination, so lithium with an anti depressant. After taking 2 years lithium solely I still have brain fog."
"Been on lithium for about 4-5 months for depression. I feel like a zombie, as my emotions are completely flat and I shuffle when I walk. I have lost all my muscle strength and feel exhausted all the time. I had high hopes for this medication as I have failed on all of the SSRI'S and atypical mood stabilizers, I've been prescribed The psychiatrist thinks I have developed a condition known as Tardive Dysphoria. This condition develops as a result of chronic treatment with antidepressants . I have been on one SSRI or another for 25 years. The symptoms of tardive dysphoria are Anxiety, irritability, depression, apathy, uneasiness, restlessness and dissatisfaction with self and life. The word tardive indicates that the dysphoria is late onset. My life has been a living nightmare since this started over 2 years ago. Therefore I was so so hopeful that lithium would give me my life back again."
"Have suffered with clinical depression for fifteen years and have been on numerous antidepressants. Have now been taking lithium for 9 months and have had a lot of problems including hands shaking, legs feeling as though they are going to give way a lot of the time, whole body feeling heavy, nausea, parts of my body suddenly jerking, sweating, but worst of all I feel as though I have had a personality transplant and do not recognize the agitated person I have become, the nightmares, my partner is very concerned. I am reducing the dose to come off it. I have just noticed on this site that it has a high interaction risk if taken with venlafaxine which I have been prescribed with it at the same time."
"Lithium takes the edge off my moods without intolerable side effects. It will not make me "happy," any more than the other prescriptions I have tried, but I doubt that's what any of them are really intended for. I have fewer suicidal thoughts, or at least the emotions accompanying them are less acute, more measured and rational. (Yes, it's perfectly possible to be both rational and have suicidal thoughts.) The main side effects have been fatigue and odd dreams. If I increase the dose I expect, based on past Rx experiences, to feel less stressed but more drugged. That is a tradeoff I will have to consider. I can't predict what I will decide. Given the extremely low cost of lithium and its widely acknowledged benefits in even small doses, I may just stick to the latter and accept the modest results that accrue."
"Seemed to work for a week at 2 weeks in, then it stopped. Gradually BECAME MORE DEPRESSED then I ever was, developed anxiety and very irritable got worse the higher the dose (2 increases, 200-600mg & 600-800mg) nasty side effects felt flat not happy or sad but still 'low' couldn't laugh or cry. AWFUL acne, reading other reviews i thought people were vain, but it's THAT BAD whole face, neck, arms and chest to the point people asking what is wrong with your skin! I also had tremors, double vision, weight gain, feeling like you're not there, slow mental function, memory loss, ringing in ears & insomnia. Still having side affects 5 days after stopping only on it for 9 weeks!"
"I have treatment resistant severe major depressive disorder, PTSD and OCD. I was on lithium for less than a month when I developed lithium toxicity, it is unknown how this happened. I was in the hospital for 3 days to flush my system out. Next to cymbalta, lithium is the worst experience I've had with a psych med. I have been on over 20 different meds for my mental health and they do not work for me. Next up electro-convulsive therapy."
This information is not intended to endorse any particular medication. While these reviews may be helpful, they are not a substitute for the expertise, knowledge, and judgement of healthcare professionals.
Learn more about Depression
- Antidepressants and Alcohol Interactions
- Antidepressants: Options, Advantages, and Precautions
- Female Sexual Dysfunction: Diagnosis and Treatment Options
- Mental Health Disorders
Symptoms and treatments
Medicine.com guides (external)
More about lithium
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Pricing & coupons
- Reviews (458)
- Drug images
- Side effects
- Dosage information
- Patient tips
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: antimanic agents
- En español
- Drug Information
- Lithium (Advanced Reading)
- Lithium Capsules and Tablets
- Lithium Controlled-Release and Extended-Release Tablets
- Lithium Syrup and Oral Solution