Trace lithium and mental health

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2018 Feb;125(2):223-227. doi: 10.1007/s00702-017-1824-6. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Lithium therapy is generally accepted as a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder, and it is also identified as one of the best augmenting options for treatment-resistant depression. Furthermore, lithium has been investigated in association with suicide, dementia and aggressiveness. In this review, we examined articles about the effects of very small amounts of lithium in treating suicide, dementia, bipolar disorder and temperament, to assess the present state of trace lithium's effect on mental state. The results indicate that trace lithium may be effective for suicide prevention but randomized, placebo-controlled trials are required to draw a definite conclusion. Indications for using trace lithium in treating such conditions as dementia, bipolar disorder and temperament are supported by very limited evidence and such effects are yet to be determined.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder; Dementia; Lithium; Suicide; Temperament; Trace lithium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lithium Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Temperament / drug effects


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Lithium Compounds