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July 20, 1979

Lithium in the Treatment of Other Psychiatric and Nonpsychiatric Disorders

Author Affiliations

From the Psychopharmacology Research Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, Aarhus University, Risskov, Denmark.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(8):856-859. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780080030009

In addition to its well-studied use in affective disorders, lithium has been evaluated in a wide variety of other psychiatric and nonpsychiatric conditions. There are over 150 published reports of lithium trials in approximately 30 different conditions.

Placebo-controlled studies have failed to confirm claims of lithium effect in premenstrual tension1-6 and have given negative results in obsessive-compulsive neurosis.7-13 Ancedotal observations have indicated positive effects in anorexia nervosa, affective psychosis in organic brain syndrome, psychoses precipitated by drugs, pathological hypersexuality, and transvestism.14-25 However, placebocontrolled studies are lacking.

There have been 24 reports on the effects of lithium treatment on alcohol consumption in animals and man.26-49 Of special interest here are the two recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, one American35 and one British.37 The American patients suffered from "chronic alcoholism associated with nonpsychotic depression." Of the alcoholics finishing the trial, those given lithium had significantly fewer drinking

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