NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness (2023)

Brand names:

  • Lithium
    • Immediate release tablets: 300mg
    • Immediate release capsules: 150 mg, 300 mg, 600 mg
    • Oral solution (liquid): 8 mEq/5 mL
  • Lithobid®
    • Tablets (extended release): 300 mg, 450 mg
  • Eskalith®, Eskalith CR®: discontinued

Generic name: lithium (LITH ee um)

All FDA black box warnings are at the end of this fact sheet. Please review before taking this medication.

What Is Lithium And What Does It Treat?

Lithium is a mood stabilizer medication that works in the brain. It is approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). Bipolar disorder involves episodes of depression and/or mania.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Depressed mood — feeling sad, empty, or tearful
  • Feeling worthless, guilty, hopeless, or helpless
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Sleep and eat more or less than usual (for most people it is less)
  • Low energy, trouble concentrating, or thoughts of death (suicidal thinking)
  • Psychomotor agitation (‘nervous energy’)
  • Psychomotor retardation (feeling like you are moving in slow motion)

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Feeling irritable or “high”
  • Having increased self esteem
  • Feeling like you don’t need to sleep
  • Feeling the need to continue to talk
  • Feeling like your thoughts are too quick (racing thoughts)
  • Feeling distracted
  • Getting involved in activities that are risky or could have bad consequences (e.g., excessive spending)

Lithium may also be helpful when prescribed “off-label” for depression, especially when combined with antidepressant medications. “Off-label” means that it hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this condition. Your mental health provider should justify his or her thinking in recommending an “off-label” treatment. They should be clear about the limits of the research around that medication and if there are any other options.

What Is The Most Important Information I Should Know About Lithium?

Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment. Do not stop taking lithium, even when you feel better. With input from you, your health care provider will assess how long you will need to take the medicine. Missing doses of lithium may increase your risk for a relapse in your mood symptoms.

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Do not stop taking lithium or change your dose without talking to with your healthcare provider first.

In order for lithium to work properly, it should be taken every day as ordered by your healthcare provider.

Periodically, your healthcare provider may ask you to provide a blood sample to make sure the appropriate level of medication is in your body and to assess for side effects, such as changes in blood cell counts or kidney function.

Are There Specific Concerns About Lithium And Pregnancy?

If you are planning on becoming pregnant, notify your healthcare provider so that he/she can best manage your medications. People living with bipolar disorder who wish to become pregnant face important decisions. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor and caregivers.

Lithium has been associated with an increased risk of Ebstein’s anomaly, a heart valve defect. Even though data suggest that the risk of Ebstein’s anomaly from first trimester use of lithium is very low, an ultrasound of the heart is recommended at 16 to 20 weeks of gestation. Lithium levels should be monitored monthly in early pregnancy and weekly near delivery. Do not stop taking lithium without first speaking to your healthcare provider. Discontinuing mood stabilizer medications during pregnancy has been associated with a significant increase in symptom relapse.

Regarding breast-feeding, caution is advised since lithium does pass into breast milk. In general, breastfeeding is not recommended while taking lithium.

What Should I Discuss With My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Lithium?

  • Symptoms of your condition that bother you the most
  • If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
  • Medications you have taken in the past for your condition, whether they were effective or caused any adverse effects
  • If you experience side effects from your medications, discuss them with your provider. Some side effects may pass with time, but others may require changes in the medication.
  • Any other psychiatric or medical problems you have
  • All other medications you are currently taking (including over the counter products, herbal and nutritional supplements) and any medication allergies you have
  • Other non-medication treatment you are receiving, such as talk therapy or substance abuse treatment. Your provider can explain how these different treatments work with the medication.
  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • If you drink alcohol or use illegal drugs

How Should I Take Lithium?

Lithium is usually taken 1-3 times per day with or without food.

Typically patients begin at a low dose of medicine and the dose is increased slowly over several weeks.

The dose usually ranges from 600 mg to 1200 mg daily, but some people may require higher doses depending on weight or symptoms. Only your health care provider can determine the correct dose for you.

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Extended release tablets: Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush or chew extended release tablets.

Liquid: Measure with a dosing spoon or oral syringe, which you can get from your pharmacy.

Use a calendar, pillbox, alarm clock, or cell phone alert to help you remember to take your medication. You may also ask a family member or a friend to remind you or check in with you to be sure you are taking your medication.

What Happens If I Miss A Dose Of Lithium?

If you miss a dose of lithium, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Discuss this with your healthcare provider. Do not double your dose or take more than what is prescribed.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Lithium?

Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while you are taking lithium. They may decrease the benefits (e.g., worsen your condition) and increase adverse effects (e.g., sedation) of the medication.

Avoid low sodium diets and dehydration because this can increase the risk of lithium toxicity.

Avoid over the counter and prescription pain medications that contain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®, Naprosyn®) because these medications can increase the risk of toxicity from lithium.

Avoid excessive intake of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks, since these may decrease levels of lithium and decrease effectiveness of the medication. Discontinuing caffeine use may increase lithium levels. Consult your healthcare provider before reducing or stopping caffeine use.

What Happens If I Overdose With Lithium?

If an overdose occurs call your doctor or 911. You may need urgent medical care. You may also contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

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A specific treatment to reverse the effects of lithium does not exist, but there are treatments to decrease the effects of the medication. Only a doctor can determine if you require treatment.

What are possible side effects of lithium?

Common side effects

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Hand tremors
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Thinning of hair or hair loss
  • Acne-like rash

Rare/serious side effects

Signs of lithium toxicity include severe nausea and vomiting, severe hand tremors, confusion, vision changes, and unsteadiness while standing or walking. These symptoms need to be addressed immediately with a medical doctor to ensure your lithium level is not dangerously high.

In rare cases, lithium may lead to a reversible condition known as diabetes insipidus. If this occurs you would notice a significant increase in thirst and how much fluid you drink and how much you urinate. Talk to your doctor if you notice you are urinating more frequently than usual.

Are There Any Risks For Taking Lithium For Long Periods Of Time?

Hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone) may occur with long-term lithium use.

Rare kidney problems have been associated with long-term use of lithium. The risk increases with high levels of lithium. Your doctor will monitor your kidney function at routine check-ups to ensure this does not occur.

What Other Medications May Interact With Lithium?

The following medications can increase the levels and effects of lithium:

  • Diuretics, such as: hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide®), furosemide (Lasix®), bumetanide (Bumex®), torsemide (Demadex®), acetazolamide (Diamox®), chlorthiazide (Diuril®), and chlorthalidone (Thalitone®)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) including: Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Naprosyn®), celecoxib (Celebrex®), diclofenac (Voltaren®), and nabumetone (Relafen®)
  • Certain blood pressure medications, called angiotensin receptor blockers or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors.
    • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs): valsartan (Diovan®), olmesartan (Benicar®), candesartan (Atacand®), losartan (Cozaar®)
    • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: enalapril (Vasotec®), captopril (Capoten®), benazepril (Lotensin®), fosinopril (Monopril®)
  • Certain antidepressants, known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Examples include phenelzine (Nardil®), tranylcypromine (Parnate®), selegiline (Eldepryl®, Emsam®), and isocarboxazid (Marplan®)

The following medications may decrease the levels and effect of lithium:

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  • Caffeine
  • Sodium chloride (table salt)
  • A medication used to treat breathing problems called theophylline (Theo–Dur®, Slo–Bid®)

How Long Does It Take For Lithium To Work?

It is very important to tell your doctor how you feel things are going during the first few weeks after you start taking lithium. It will probably take several weeks to see big enough changes in your symptoms to decide if lithium is the right medication for you.

Mood stabilizer treatment is generally needed lifelong for persons with bipolar disorder. Your doctor can best discuss the duration of treatment you need based on your symptoms and illness.

Summary of Black Box Warnings

Lithium toxicity

Lithium toxicity is closely related to lithium blood levels and can occur at doses close to therapeutic levels; lithium levels should be monitored closely when starting the medication or if individuals experience side effects of the medication.

Provided by

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness (1)

(September 2021)

©2021The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). CPNP and NAMI make this document available under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives 4.0 International License. Last Updated: January 2016.

This information is being provided as a community outreach effort of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists. This information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical advice. This information contains a summary of important points and is not an exhaustive review of information about the medication. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified medical professional with any questions you may have regarding medications or medical conditions. Never delay seeking professional medical advice or disregard medical professional advice as a result of any information provided herein. The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists disclaims any and all liability alleged as a result of the information provided herein.

(Video) NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health)


How does NAMI help people with mental illness? ›

NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.

Is National Alliance on Mental Illness legit? ›, their website, houses a multitude of information, resources, community support, and crisis contact outlets and is a highly reliable source for anyone who would use it. Through their website alone they accomplish their four goals to educate, advocate, listen, and lead.

What does NAMI mean in mental health? ›

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Who funds National Alliance on Mental Illness? ›

The majority of NAMI's funding comes from individual contributions, which is something we're quite proud of. The remainder comes from major foundation and corporate sponsorships, dues, grants, events and other partnerships. For more detail on our finances, review our annual reports and IRS 990 documents below.

What is considered a serious mental illness? ›

SMI includes major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder (VA).

Does NAMI help with schizophrenia? ›

Coping with schizophrenia isn't easy. But if you or a family member or friend is struggling, there is help. NAMI and NAMI Affiliates are here to provide you with support for you and your family and information about community resources.

How reputable is NAMI? ›

NAMI has earned a 92% for the Accountability & Finance beacon. See the metrics below for more information. This beacon provides an assessment of a charity's financial health (financial efficiency, sustainability, and trustworthiness) and its commitment to governance practices and policies.

How much of my donation goes to NAMI? ›

Program Percentage: 82%

The percentage of NAMI's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).

Is NAMI a good organization to donate to? ›

NAMI has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. This rating shows that NAMI adheres to best practices and fulfills our mission in a financially efficient way.

What are the 4 types of mental illness? ›

mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)

What happens when you call NAMI? ›

The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public.

Where does the money donated to NAMI go? ›

Donations will directly fund our partnership with local law enforcement to train them on how to safely interact with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis through the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program.

Does NAMI give out grants? ›

All grant applicants must submit the affiliate applicant's most recent signed and dated W-9 before their application is complete. W-9's may be emailed to Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The review process will take roughly three weeks.

Who owns NAMI? ›

Structure. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit run by a board of directors who are elected by membership. NAMI National is the umbrella organization; state and local affiliates operate semi-independently, in an attempt to more accurately represent those in the surrounding communities.

What is the average lifespan of a mentally ill person? ›

According to the World Health Organization, people with severe mental health disorders have a 10–25-year reduction in life expectancy. Schizophrenia mortality rates are between 2 and 2.5 times those in the general population, while individuals with depression have a 1.8 times higher risk of premature mortality.

Which is the most severe mental illness? ›

Here we look at two of the most common severe mental illnesses: schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (or manic depression). Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects a person's thinking, and that can consequently alter their perception of reality, their emotions and their behaviour.

What are the top 3 most common mental illnesses? ›

The most common are anxiety disorders major depression and bipolar disorder.

Is schizophrenia is the most disabling mental illness? ›

Schizophrenia and personality disorders are the most disabling mental health conditions to live with, according to Queensland Brain Institute's Professor John McGrath.

What triggers schizophrenia? ›

The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition. Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode.

What is the best mood stabilizer for schizophrenia? ›

Mood stabilizers such as lithium and valproic acid (VPA) have been shown to be effective in BD and, to some extent in schizophrenia.

Who does NAMI care about the most? ›

Nami cares about Luffy deeply and will often hug or hold onto him when she is scared or depressed. Their relationship is consistently presented as positive and affirming, an example of two people with compatible dreams and different temperaments working out conflicts as equals.

What is the leading cause of disability in the US NAMI? ›

Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in our country, costing the U.S. an estimated $300 billion a year.

Is NAMI evidence based? ›

NAMI's Evidence-Based Programs

A NAMI program or presentation is designated as an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) when it has been studied by an external researcher and the results of the study are published in a peer-reviewed journal. Six of NAMI's programs are currently designated as EBPs.

Does donating to charity help mental health? ›

Make a donation

reduce the impact of depression, anxiety and suicide by supporting people to protect their mental health and to recover when they are unwell. reduce people's experiences of stigma and discrimination. improve people's opportunities to get effective support and services at the right time.

What is the maximum you can claim for donations? ›

Generally, you may deduct up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income, but 20 percent and 30 percent limitations apply in some cases. Tax Exempt Organization Search uses deductibility status codes to identify these limitations.

Does NAMI support Lgbtq? ›

A support network for LGBTQ youth providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention, including a 24-hour text line (text “START” to 678678). Delivers educational and support resources for LGBTQ individuals, as well as promotes competency on LGBTQ issues for counseling professionals.

What does NAMI use donations for? ›

When you make a financial contribution to NAMI, you help us make that tomorrow a reality. You help ensure that no individual or family is alone on their mental health journey. You help provide a national network of support and resources, both online and in communities across the country.

What is an example of a mental health crisis? ›

Some examples of mental health crises include depression, trauma, eating disorders, alcohol or substance abuse, self-injury and suicidal thoughts. If you suspect a friend or family member is experiencing an emotional crisis, your help can make a difference.

What to do if a mentally ill person threatens you? ›

Call the Central Coast Hotline for mental health guidance and crisis or suicide prevention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (800) 783-0607.

What is the difference between mental illness and mental disorder? ›

A mental disorder shares the same qualities as a mental illness but is used in reference to the Mental Health Act to describe the particular symptoms a person has.

What causes mental illness in the brain? ›

Most scientists believe that mental illnesses result from problems with the communication between neurons in the brain (neurotransmission). For example, the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is lower in individuals who have depression. This finding led to the development of certain medications for the illness.

Is NAMI a profit? ›

NAMI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Who is the CEO of NAMI? ›

Chief Executive Officer

Dan Gillison brings expertise in non-profit leadership and a passion for advocating for people with mental illness to NAMI.

What is a wellbeing grant? ›

Designed to help promote your health and happiness. Eligible households can apply once per calendar year for one wellbeing grant. Can we support your household's wellbeing with a wellbeing grant? Many of these are available without means-testing or providing detailed financial information.

How many people does NAMI help? ›

NAMI is helping an average of 5,550 help seekers monthly in 2021, up from 3,543 help seekers monthly in 2019. Sherman Gillums, Jr.

What is a SIP grant? ›

SIP provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education (IHEs) to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

What is NAMI known for? ›

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Is NAMI a good support? ›

Nami is actually a really good support, I don't really know why people don't play her more. Her heal is deceptively strong: it can hit three times if you are in the right situation, and it has a very short cooldown, and relatively low cost, it's definitely one of the stronger heals in the game.

What is NAMI and what is its purpose? ›

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a nationwide, grassroots mental health organization. NAMI offers educational programs, advocates for individuals and families affected by mental illness, and operates a toll-free helpline.

What are the benefits of NAMI? ›

The benefits of full membership include membership in NAMI, your NAMI State Organization and Affiliate, our flagship magazine, the NAMI Advocate, discounts at the NAMI Store and on registration at NAMI's National Convention, full access to all the information and features on the NAMI website and more.

What is the purpose of NAMI one piece? ›

She was formerly a member of the Arlong Pirates and initially joined the Straw Hats so that she could rob them in order to buy back her village from Arlong. However, she legitimately joined the Straw Hats after they rebelled against and defeated Arlong. Her dream is to make a map of the entire world.

What has NAMI accomplished? ›

Education and Research

NAMI's support and education programs help build better lives for the millions of people affected by mental illness. In 2015, NAMI provided in-person, no-cost peer support groups to more than 160,000 individuals and families.

Can people with mental illness be helped? ›

Most people diagnosed with a mental health condition can experience relief from their symptoms and live a satisfying life by actively participating in an individualized treatment plan. An effective treatment plan may include medication, psychotherapy and peer support groups.

Who is the largest payer of mental health care in the US? ›

Medicaid. Medicaid is a health insurance program that provides critical support for millions of people with mental health conditions and is the nation's largest payer of mental health and addiction services.

Is NAMI free? ›

The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public.

What is Nami based on? ›

Nami was based on two of Eiichiro Oda's earlier characters named Silk and Ann, from his one-shot manga Romance Dawn. In these stories, Silk and Ann were parentless and had tragic pasts. Oda designed Nami as a human girl.

What race is Luffy? ›

Luffy's real-world nationality analogue is Brazilian — Luffy is from the Goa Kingdom, named after an Indian city colonized by the Portuguese Empire. In the Netflix adaptation, Luffy will be portrayed by Iñaki Godoy, a Mexican actor.

Is Nami a good person? ›

Nami is cautious and greedy, but also intelligent, kind and clever, and will always stand up when the moment calls for it. She's the navigator of the Straw Hat Pirates and the woman who will one day chart a map of the entire One Piece world.

Is NAMI a good organization? ›

This charity's score is 93%, earning it a Four-Star rating. If this organization aligns with your passions and values, you can give with confidence. This overall score is calculated from multiple beacon scores: 90% Accountability & Finance, 10% Leadership & Adaptability.

Is NAMI Faith based? ›

NAMI FaithNet is not a religious network but includes an effort to outreach to all religious organizations. Learn more about awareness events and dates and how to get involved.

Who is Nami married to? ›

Jong-hak Baek: Nami's Husband.

What type of personality does Nami have? ›

Nami is an ESTJ personality type. She is reliable and you can count on her to stick to her word. Steadfast and self-assured, she is drawn to positions of leadership. Living life by rules and social norms is important to people of the ESTJ personality type.

Why did Nami leave? ›

6/6 Nami — Left During Baratie

Traveling with the crew all the way up to Baratie, Nami stole the Going Merry and left the crew. The reason behind this was her deal with Arlong for which she had to secure 100 million berries in order to buy back Cocoyashi village from him.


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