I'm always a bit surprised at how many people find my site with certain searches. After I was so open with leaving my last job my most common searches by far are people looking for information about quitting jobs, usually in conjunction with mental illness. I seem to have spurred the world into action.
When I get questions that seem like something people would benefit from knowing I try to answer. Today I had a referral from someone looking for whether lithium can hurt you if you aren't bipolar. This links to another question that people ask, so today I'm answering both.
For some reason many people seem to think that lithium can be used sort of like a "test" for bipolar. If lithium works you must be bipolar, if not you're fine. Not so. In fact, one of the best ways to boost depression in someone suffering severe and med resistant depression is to supplement with lithium. That is actually how I got on it and then found that it made my cycles extremely clear. For me lithium works but it does not work alone.
If you take lithium and you aren't bipolar, of course it can hurt you, but there's no more chance of it than for us. If there is no clinical reason to be on it I wouldn't recommend it, it's not a fun drug, but it's also a wonder drug. We bipolars don't have some special chemistry that lets this salt help us but makes it poisonous to others. We are helped by the salt for some magical reason, but we are just as susceptible as anyone to the ugly effects. Ask BipolarLawyerCook, who is recovering from early toxicity. It is not pleasant.
It's funny sometimes how people think EVERYTHING about the mentally ill patient is different....Sometimes I feel like telling people that the greatest differences are the things only I see. But if they don't get that, probably they never will...