Withdrawal symptoms from lithium. Four case reports and a questionnaire study.

J R King , R P Hullin

Abstract

Evidence from four case reports of heightened anxiety, irritability and emotional lability following withdrawal of lithium was confirmed by a questionnaire survey of 110 defaulters from a lithium clinic: 19 per cent of respondents retrospectively reported these temporary symptoms following withdrawal. The possible mechanisms of such a withdrawal effect are discussed, and a phased withdrawal is advocated in situations where continued clinical benefit from lithium is being evaluated. The questionnaire results also confirm anecdotal evidence that lithium reduces emotional responsiveness. The significance of these findings in terms of the current models of lithium's action is discussed.