Recurrent brief depression
successfully treated with lithium

Corominas A, Bonet P, Nieto E
Department of Psychiatry,
Hospital General de Manresa,
Barcelona, Spain.
Biol Psychiatry 1998 Nov 1;44(9):927-9


BACKGROUND: The diagnostic criteria for RBD requires the presence of at least five out of nine depressive symptoms analogous to the symptoms of major depression, yet a duration of less than two weeks, a recurrence of at least 12 times a year, and the evidence of impairment in occupational or other important areas of functioning. The lack of a successful treatment represents one of the main challenges of this disorder. The therapeutic value of lithium in RBD has been suggested by Montgomery, but the specific efficacy of this agent has not been tested yet in the case of patients with recurrent brief depressive disorder. METHODS: We report on a 38-year-old man who presented a 10-month history of sudden depressive episodes, with monthly recurrences lasting 2-4 days, prior to our first assessment. RESULTS: The patient was treated with clomipramine, with complete remission of the depressive episode after three days. Nevertheless, in spite of maintaining the treatment, he presented a new episode one month later and two episodes the month after. Since then, lithium therapy was added and during the last 13 months he has remained euthymic, without any recurrence of depressive symptoms. Lithium treatment has been maintained and clomipramine treatment was gradually tapered because of the complaints of impotence, dry mouth, and dizziness. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of recurrences since lithium treatment was started (during the last 13 months, and especially during the last 10 months, where lithium has been the only treatment), suggests a prophylactic effect of this agent on RBD. Lithium's mechanism of action in preventing depressive recurrences might play a major role in the therapeutic approach of RBD, especially since recurrence (but not the duration of the symptoms) is the main feature that defines the severity of this disorder.
Lithium advert
Bipolar disorders
Lithium prophylaxis
Lithium: mechanisms
Lithium augmentation
Lithium and depression
Recurrent brief depression
Lithium maintenance: review

and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
The Good Drug Guide

The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family