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Question
Posted by: Zelda Snyman | 2010/01/27

Bipolar

Hi there

Through a blood test they discovered my husband to have a Lithium level of less than 0.1. The doctors says this is 100% Bipolar. Could this be? And what do we do now? Will he have to be classified as Bipolar and how will this effect his job, especially if he has to be classified?

Please advise, I' m desperate to know

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I don't understand what on earth they were doing. Normally, though tiny amounts of Lithium may be present in, for instance, drinking water, NONE of us have a detectable level of it in our blood-stream. And there is no blood test to diagnose depression or bipolar disorder.
If one has diagnosed someone as having Bipolar Disorder, and has decided to treat them with useful doses of Lithium ( an old but effective medication for treating Bipolar Disorder ), then it is usual to do measurements of the level of lithium in the blood due to the dose being taken, to check that the levels are right. Too little and it is doing no good, too high a level causes unpleasant side-effects.
So I don't think they could have found a significant lithium level on testing him, unless the diagnosis was already made and the medicine started.
If this is so, its no disaster. Bipolar disorder varies, it can be relatively mild or reasonably easy to get under control, or it may be more serious. If he is under good treatment, it should not necessarily affecty his job, and he would not be "classified" in any external sense at all.
Maybe you need to discuss this with his doctors - it sounds as though they didn't explain things very well to you.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/01/27

I don't understand what on earth they were doing. Normally, though tiny amounts of Lithium may be present in, for instance, drinking water, NONE of us have a detectable level of it in our blood-stream. And there is no blood test to diagnose depression or bipolar disorder.
If one has diagnosed someone as having Bipolar Disorder, and has decided to treat them with useful doses of Lithium ( an old but effective medication for treating Bipolar Disorder ), then it is usual to do measurements of the level of lithium in the blood due to the dose being taken, to check that the levels are right. Too little and it is doing no good, too high a level causes unpleasant side-effects.
So I don't think they could have found a significant lithium level on testing him, unless the diagnosis was already made and the medicine started.
If this is so, its no disaster. Bipolar disorder varies, it can be relatively mild or reasonably easy to get under control, or it may be more serious. If he is under good treatment, it should not necessarily affecty his job, and he would not be "classified" in any external sense at all.
Maybe you need to discuss this with his doctors - it sounds as though they didn't explain things very well to you.

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