2020 issue 4


Volume 36, issue 4

Review article

Lithium therapy in literature and art

Janusz Rybakowski1
1. Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Department of Adult Psychiatry
Farmakoterapia w Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2020, 36 (4), 271–284
Date of publication: 08-02-2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.33450/fpn.2020.12.002
Keywords: lithium, bipolar disorder, literature, art


Introduction. In 1949, Australian psychiatrist John Cade described a therapeutic action of lithium carbonate in mania. This date is regarded as an introduction of lithium into contemporary psychiatric therapeutics and the beginning of modern psychopharmacology. In the early 1960s, a prophylactic activity of lithium was observed, preventing recurrences of affective episodes in mood disorders. Lithium has become a prototype of the mood-stabilising drugs and remains a drug of the first choice for the prophylaxis of recurrences in bipolar mood disorder.

Literature review. Both the introduction of lithium into psychiatric therapy and its therapeutic action has been reflected in literature and art. This article presents the connections of lithium therapy with literature and art. They pertain to such characters as John Cade, Salvador Luria, Patty Duke, Kay Jamison, Jerzy Broszkiewicz, Ota Pavel, Robert Lowell, Jaime Lowe, Nicole Lyons, Kurt Cobain, Sting, and the band Evanescence.

Conclusions. Special attention was given to the book Unquiet mind, written in 1996 by Kay Jamison, professor of psychology. In the book, her personal bipolar disorder and lithium treatment were described from the viewpoint of the eminent professional. Polish translation of the book titled Niespokojny umysł already has two editions: in 2000 and 2018.

Address for correspondence:
Professor Janusz Rybakowski
Poznan University of Medical Sciences
Department of Adult Psychiatry
27/33 Szpitalna Str., 60-572 Poznań, Poland
email: janusz.rybakowski@gmail.com