Bipolar Thoughts

The Hangover

I can tell you one thing that no longer exists in my world due to my use of psychoactive drugs.

I no longer have hangovers.

While a long day/ night of drinking will still usually result in a slightly nauseated upset stomach and achy muscles the next day, I do not experience a crippling light and sound sensitive headache that I used to wake up with rather regularly.

The reason is Lithium.

There are many people that speculate as to why lithium is not more widely prescribed for various ailments, chiefly among them is that lithium cannot be patented so there is no money to develop or market it properly. But the reality is that lithium is something of a super drug. The last fifteen years or so have provided the largest and widest scope of medical testing in the history of lithium and the results are stunning, even if unproven at this point.

Lithium increases brain size, upwards of 3% (that means literally billions of new brain cells), it is a prophylactic against neuro-poisons, like alcohol, it can slow the growth of cancer, it can stave off dementia, it can lower recidivism in alcoholism, and who knows what else at this point.

Small trial studies have been done with incorporating lithium into drinking water of small towns and the rates of homicide and suicide dropped significantly, even in places as different as Texas and Japan.

The first documented medical use of lithium was in Ancient Greece, about the 2nd century CE, which is also when bipolar was first documented. Lithium was used as the main salt in relaxation baths where they would send depressed or homicidal people to regain control of their mental faculties. The oceans are full of lithium, it is the most abundant mineral in the oceans. People speculate that this is a major reason we feel relaxed and recharged after swimming in the ocean or laying in the sand.

I’m not sure I believe any or all of that. I have no idea. Not much medical research is out there to confirm or deny that stuff. But I do know that I stopped having hangovers right after I started taking lithium.

I have taken too much lithium, where my blood pressure increased and tremors in my hands and feet made it difficult to do much of anything. That isn’t good. And it is hard on your kidneys, can cause stones, all that good stuff.

But if I can protect my brain, increase its size, and push off the advances of dementia it is worth taking it. And none of that has to do with the reason I am taking it, as a mood stabilizer.

Pretty incredible.