Q: What is the history of bipolar disorder?
Treatment was completely limited to just trying to keep people safe and out of society's way, for hundreds of years. One could hardly call it treatment. All that changed, about as huge a change as you can imagine, through the work of John Cade, an Australian clinician. Here's a teeny nutshell of this extremely important story:
The story begins in an Australian lab in 1948 when Dr John Cade, senior medical officer in the Mental Hygiene Department of Victoria, had a hunch that urea would be effective in the treatment of bipolar. He needed an agent to help the substance dissolve in water, which turned out to be lithium. He quickly found the solution had a calming affect on guinea pigs, but further experimentation showed that it was the lithium and not the urea that was the active agent. He then tried lithium on human subjects, with eye-popping results.
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