April 1977

Lithium Carbonate and Ethanol Induced "Highs" in Normal Subjects

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(4):463-467. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770160097008

• The responses of twenty-three normal male subjects to a standardized dose of 95% ethanol (1.32 ml/kg of body weight) were compared after two weeks of placebo and two weeks of therapeutic serum lithium ion levels (mean 0.91 mEq/liter). The study was a placebo controlled, split-half crossover, doubleblind design. Prealcohol and postalcohol responses were assessed by self-rating scales of affect and mood, independent rater observation, perceptual-motor, and cognitive performance tasks. Pretreatment by lithium carbonate neither blocked nor dampened an alcohol-induced subjective "high" in normal subjects. A complex reciprocal interaction may exist between the effects of lithium and alcohol upon other behavioral attributes. Alcohol was seen to reverse aspects of lithiuminduced dysphoria and there is a suggestion that lithium may attenuate alcohol-induced cognitive inefficiency.