Dr. Tom Colletti
Suicide ideation, unlike physical diseases, cannot be identified by simply completing a physical exam or acquiring laboratory results. Providers must screen for suicide and obtain an adequate patient history to come close to identifying suicide risk. Patients with mental illnesses are at an increased risk for suicide, and bipolar disorder puts patients at a lifetime risk of suicide more than 15-30 times than the general population. Antidepressants are used as a standard treatment to reduce suicidal risk, but this has not shown to be efficacious in patients with bipolar disorder. Lithium is the gold standard for treating bipolar disorder and it has been shown to decrease suicidal behavior more than other anti-suicidal medications. This article will attempt to outline the use and efficacy of lithium, inform medical providers of the optimal lithium serum concentration, side-effects, and toxic symptoms of lithium.
Robinson K. An Overview of Suicide and the Role of Lithium in Suicide Prevention. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2020; 2(3).
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