Via Dr Shock:
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, lived every day with the mania and severe depression that she had studied for years. She talks openly of the challenges she faced with the treatment and disclosure of her mental illness.
Her description of the disorder and the effect of her medication is wonderfully poetic.
Bipolar disorder is incredibly damaging to those who suffer from it. Manic episodes leave a tumultuous aftermath. Depressive episodes result in two times more suicides than depression alone. Lithium, the standard treatment for bipolar disorder, is widely considered one of our most successful psychotropic medications. The narrow dose response window and various side effects (blunted affect, etc) are overwhelmingly outweighed by its clinical potency.
Lithium, a mere salt, and the recent hubbub about SSRIs are quite an interesting contrast.