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May 1982

Body Composition in Affective Disorder Before, During, and After Lithium Carbonate Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Colt and Pierson and Mr Wang) and Psychiatry (Drs Dünner, Ross, and Fieve), Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(5):577-581. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290050051010

• The body composition of three unipolar and 17 bipolar patients, studied during the depressive state, was compared with that of 48 controls. The ratio of extracellular to intracellular water content was significantly less in male patients than in male controls: the difference between female patients and female controls was not statistically significant. In patients of both sexes, residual sodium concentration was greater in patients than in controls. The intracellular content of potassium was the same in patients as in controls. In six patients, body composition was studied prior to lithium carbonate therapy, after 17 days of treatment, and 17 days after discontinuing administration of the drug. The significant changes were a decrease in body weight during therapy, and a decrease in body water content and an increase in residual sodium concentration after drug treatment was discontinued.