Lithium is one of the most effective drugs in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Researchers found that...lithium exerts a push/pull effect on the neurotransmitter glutamate, eventually causing it to level off in a stable zone where it can control both extremes. Lithium is also one of the very rare substances that is capable of altering properties of circadian rhythms.
The discovery of the effectiveness of lithium for the prophylaxis of cluster headache has had a major impact on the treatment of this condition. The chronic form of cluster is particularly well-suited for lithium treatment.
Treatment with lithium is effective in reducing aggressive behaviour in children with conduct disorder. Incidence rates of suicide, homicide, and rape are significantly higher in counties whose drinking water supplies contain little or no lithium. Counties with lower dissolved lithium concentrations in their groundwater had significantly higher suicide mortality rates. Hair lithium levels are low in certain pathological conditions, e.g., heart disease, in learning-disabled subjects, and in incarcerated violent criminals.
Lithium increases gray matter in the brain. Research has shown that lithium helps keep brain cells alive, and that it should be investigated as a potential agent in the treatment of Alzheimer's.