The British Journal of Psychiatry


Lithium was given to eight aggressive, non-manic-depressive female defectives in a double blind placebo-controlled study. The group as a whole showed a reduction in aggression scores while on lithium (p < 0.01): three patients became less aggressive, one became worse and two were unchanged. Both affective and predatory aggression seemed to be reduced. Two patients had to be withdrawn from the trial at an early stage because of the development of neurotoxicity.

R.B.C./plasma lithium ratios showed a wide inter-patient variation in this group of non-manic-depressives.

The study adds further weight to evidence that lithium has an antiaggressive effect at normal therapeutic dosage in non-manic-depressives. The implications of this for hypotheses about the mode of action of lithium and its putative specificity for manic-depressive psychosis are discussed.