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Re: Withdrwal from lithium / What is dysthymia?

Posted by Sean on May 5, 1999, at 16:35:46

In reply to Withdrwal from lithium / What is dysthymia?, posted by Louise on May 4, 1999, at 17:24:29

> I'm about to come off a course of Lithium and have been reading up on suggested times for discontinuation. The length of time recommended is longer for dysthymia. Any info?

Dysthymia is a form of depression which is undergoing
considerable research and re-definition. At one
point it was almost equivalent with having a
"depressive personality" and not thought to be
treatable with meds. However, Dr. Hagop Akiskal has done
an enormous amount of work on both bipolar and
dysthymia/cyclothymia and my personal opinion is
that he is correct in seeing dysthymia as related
to the bipolar disorders.

One similarity is the age of onset of dysthymia
and bipolar, which tends to be younger (usually
during adolescence, early adult) than is the case
for classic major depression or melancholia. The
second similarity is the presence of "atypical"
symptoms of depression characterized by over
sleeping and over eating. The third, and perhaps
most intriguing, similarity is that drugs which
work for bipolar disorder often work for people
with dysthymia. This suggests that some kind of
physiological link exists between these diorders.

Dysthymia, like bipolar disorder, is considered
something of a life-long problem, often weaved
very tightly with the fabric of "personality".
While I can't say precisely why there should be
a longer weaning period, it may be that the primary
effect of lithium therapy in dysthymia is not
for management of classic bipolar features, but
rather, prophylactic.

Am I making any sense? Check out Akiskal's work.
He has helped make sense of my own situation...

Hope this helps,





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