[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 8, 1971

Patient Rejection of Lithium Carbonate Prophylaxis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Clinical Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; New York Psychiatric Institute; and Presbyterian Hospital, New York.

JAMA. 1971;218(6):864-866. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190190050009

In the milder forms of manic-depressive disorders, many patients refuse to continue with lithium carbonate as a prophylactic agent for the following reasons: (1) Creative patients feel that the lithium carbonate acts as a "brake," preventing productivity and interfering with the earning of a livelihood. (2) The hypomanic phase is so enjoyable that rather than eliminate or limit it, they prefer to take their chances on the possibility that a depression will not recur. (3) Denial of the chronicity of the illness lies behind denial of the need to ingest lithium carbonate indefinitely.