Lithium and other mood stabilisers

Explains what mood stabilising drugs are, what they're used for, possible side effects and information about withdrawal.

Your stories

Posted on 01/01/0001

A letter to Joy about lithium

Laura from our communications team writes an open letter to Joy, the clothes store.

Posted on 22/09/2014

My podcast: a manic soundscape

Robin's blog about how he used his skills in radio production to create a podcast about his hypomania.

Robin Blamires
Posted on 18/06/2014

Are there any alternatives?

Managing a condition like bipolar disorder without mood stabilisers can be challenging, but medication isn't right for everyone, and you might find that you want to explore other ways to manage your mood. This could be alongside taking medication, or instead of it.

I'd taken mood stabilisers for many years and they just stopped me feeling anything. That’s not the way forward [for me]. I have been off them for some years now and with the help of a therapist I'm having to learn to feel again!

You might find that some of the following options could work for you:

  • Keep a mood diary – you could try keeping a diary of how you feel from day to day, to help you spot patterns in your mood swings over time. This could help you learn how to avoid situations which you know might trigger an episode of depression or mania in future. There are a number of websites with programmes that can help you do this (see our pages on bipolar disorder for more information).
  • Look after your general health
  • Try complementary therapies – you might find certain complementary therapies helpful, such as aromatherapy, reflexology or massage.
  • Peer support – you might find it helpful to share your experiences with other people who have the same diagnosis, who can understand what you're going through. Elefriends and BipolarUK  both offer online support groups, and Mind's Infoline can give you more information about local groups you could join near you.
  • Discuss it with you doctor – they might be able to suggest an alternative medication that you could try instead, or offer other alternatives (see our pages on having your say in your treatment and making yourself heard for tips on how to get the most from your doctor). 

This information was published in February 2015. We will revise it in 2019.

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