lithium side effects

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I am looking for help. I have been on 400mg of lithium for nearly 4 weeks. i am having terrible stomach pains and aching legs. Yesterday the pains were excrutiating in my stomach worse than labour pains. I felt like i wanted to die and feel the same today. can anyone help will this get better? my down periods are awful i feel worse than when i wasn't taking anything. Please help any suggestions would be welcomed as i am beside myself, wish i had the guts to kill myself but i dont. how pathetic is that. sad

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Morning Alison...

    Blooming heck the pains you are experiencing sound absolutely dreadful & I'm so sorry to hear you're enduring such high levels of discomfort due to a medication supposedly to relieve other symptoms & make you better.

    I don't use Lithium & therefore can't help your main enquiry, however I wanted to show my support as you're feeling low & your thoughts are turning to suicidal tendencies.

    You will know yourself that during low & depressive episodes the mind often resorts to the comfort of putting an end to it all; I know I do, even this morning in fact when I woke up after a bad nights sleep, the grey fog was present in my head & I turned to my husband saying that I know I won't but when you can't ever see an end to feeling dreadful, it's a thought that does go through the head.

    I know this is stating the obvious, have you spoken to your GP or psyche team about your side effects, 4 weeks is a long time to feel so dreadful?

    I've only experienced severe sickness, itching & other mild side effects from meds & they can be bad enough & drag the mood down further, so I empathise with you Alison & hope you can speak with your practitioners & get some help...

    If you'd like to offload throughout the day, just chat, feel connected & not alone, I'm here to listen.

    I receive notifications when things are posted on the site, so will respond as soon as I can.

    I'm not working due to my moods at present, so it's good to feel like I can give support, it helps me too, the connection with other people who understand what we're going through.

    Take care, I hope the pains ease soon. 

  • Posted


    Thank you for replying i am off work too handing my notice in as we speak. I have always suffered depression more than high periods. But this is the worst i have ever felt. I don't have an understanding husband he ignores me which makes me feel even worse. i am at the doctors on thursday if i last that long i will chat with her. my psychiatrist i don't like much he seems to be a jobsworth if you know what i mean. i don't like talking to friends i have always tried to get over this on my own but im struggling this time. wish there was a magic pill to take. lithium is my last option as i have tried everything else. what are you on scotie70? have you been off work for a while?


    • Posted


      Excuse the delayed reply, I managed some more sleep which passes more day away!

      We sound similar in our approaches, I shut myself away & don't like talking about how I feel with friends or family; it doesn't change anything, I don't feel any better for talking about it & I feel it just bogs them down & potentially makes them feel useless as they can't help!

      It really doesn't help matters when you're not happy with your psychiatrist!

      I've had one excellent one in 15 years who I respected & listened to.

      It was the 'Mother & Baby' MH Team & I had the consultant, she was excellent, she sussed me completely & I respected her for that, I wasn't just another file!

      I'm sorry to hear your husband isn't understanding & helpful, that really must add to how you feel & if you know how labour pain feels, do you have children?

      I haven't been working since February. I didn't work for long, roughly 3 months & before that not for about 18 months!

      I've got qualifications in a few things, skills etc, however my lacking confidence & fluctuating moods, especially depression, make me stop working.

      We moved away from the city we'd always lived, family & friends 2 years ago & that hasn't helped me in the long run, I was ok at first, went high then dropped into depression.

      I hope the GP sorts something out for you?

      I don't take regular meds & only take antidepressants to lift lows then come off them when I get any hypomanic symptoms.

      I refused Lithium!

      Weight gain is a huge issue for me & most of the mood stabilising meds induce weight gain! I'm overweight as it is & that adds to my low mood.

      I'm planning not to eat much this week in the hope it'll lift my mood, I know I'm feeling lower today because I've eaten more than I want to & things that'll induce weight gain; nice things that make you feel good at the time of eating, viscous circle...

      My name is Justine.

      Keep in touch Alison. ;0)

  • Posted

    Hi Justine

    Thanks for getting back to me. Have you got young children? I went back to bed hence the late reply. I rang my pschycologist and been to see him this afternoon. He has prescribed me lofepramine for the depression. It is a vicous circle i refused lithium at first but had tried everything else to no avail. I am obsessed with my weight but have a dreadful diet basically it is biscuits! He seems to think that i have developed irritable bowel. so now looking into gluten free food etc. What is your diet like? A friend of mine gave me a great juice recipe which i have been trying to have for good nutrients. all it is is spinach, kale, a pink lady apple, avocado and cucumber. with the juice of a lemon. Put it all in a blender it can last for three days. you should try it, also kingsmill wholemeal sandwich thins with pease pudding and cottage cheese. you sound very much how i used to be i took anti depressants when i was low then came off them when i felt ok. Then after 6months or so would be back to square one.

    take care


    Emis Moderator comment: I have removed the email address as we do not publish these in the forums. If users wish to exchange contact details please use the Private Message service.

  • Posted

    hi justine

    just to let you know i have replied but it is being moderated i think it is because i put my email address on.

    hope it will come on here soon

    Alison smile

    • Posted

      Oh Hi Alison...

      I didn't realise that happens but I guess it stands to reason to ensure there's no abuse or advertising etc...

      I haven't used it but I think there's a private message arena where contributors to the forum can write between each other without it being public.

      I hope your message comes through soon & that you're ok? ;0) Xx

  • Posted

    Morning Justine,

    Seems the post isn't going to be put on. I went to the hospital yesterday and he has given me an antidepressant to take alongside the lithium. He says i have developed ibs and restless leg syndrome from anxiety. I have been looking into a 7 day diet for ibs to see if it helps. blooming expensive tho!The pscychiatrist told me that i have to talk to friends about how i feel but i struggle with that as i am a very private person and try to sort myself out as much as i can. You sound very much like i was taking the antidepressants for a while then when you feel better come off them. I have now realised that they are a medication for life but accepting that is quite hard. How old are your children if you don't mind me asking? I have two boys 21yrs and 17yrs. I am not sure how to send private message, if you do can you send me one then i hopefully will be able to reply. Hope you had a good night sleep? I was up eating a ham sandwich at 2am!

    Alison x

    • Posted

      Hello Alison...

      I've been a bit quiet over the last couple of days.

      I go in cycles like this...

      So I'm not being rude in not answering.

      I'll bounce back soon. 

      Justine Xx

  • Posted

    I'm on 700 lithium , and have been for 9 months . Fortunately I didn't get stomach ache for long , but had very shaky hands , and walked unsteadily to start with. It has got better over time, so hopefully your symptons will improve as well . The psychiatrist drummed into me the importance of drinking a litre of water a day which I struggle with , but I wonder if it might help you , by allowing your body to flush the medecine through. It won't do any harm to try . Maybe you do it already though. I guess I will stay on lithium through the winter and try coming off in the spring. 

    Its really difficult to advise anyone else, but here goes . I was in hospitral for 3 months , and felt totally crap , when I did feel anything . When I got back I put a little note above my bedroom door . It said 'every day you stay alive is a triumph '. That was my bottom line. Even if I didn't achieve anything else that day, not killing myself was a huge acievement , because of the effects it would have had on family. It's really really easy to underestimate how much devastation it would cause when we're very down , as we think we mean nothing to anyone, and we can't think realistically . Its a huge act of bravery keeping going for those who experience depression etc, and we should all try and feel a little bit of pride everynight that we've got through another one.

    Good luck.

  • Posted

    I am so sorry that you are having such a rough time. I think it's worth talking to a pharmasist or doctor about the side effects. There is no one drug that works for everyone. I have been on Lithium for 8 years and it worked like a charm from the beginning with the acception of weight gain.

    There are several other drugs for mood disorders and I hope you can find one that will work for you. Don't suffer in silence, get some professional help. Wishing you well and hope there is a quick fix for your problem.


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