1. a) Why do you think the song is named “lithium”?

Lithium is used for psychiatric medication. It is a mood stabiliser and is known to reduce the severity of mania in bipolar disorder. The subject in the song is in love with her sorrow and does not it to be tampered with. Happiness, in this case, is likened to lithium because if the subject becomes happy, the sadness which is like mania is reduced.

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  1. b) Is the subject in love? If so, with who?

The subject is in love with her sorrow. She says “I want to stay in love with my sorrow”. She does not want happiness which is lithium, to come in between her and her sorrow.


  1. c) Is the subject heartbroken? If so, why?

Yes, she is heartbroken by the intrusion caused by happiness. When she is lost in sorrow, she loves the feeling and even likens it to flying high. The fact that she also wishes to be happy but can’t control herself makes her feel heartbroken. She says ‘I can’t hold on to me…wonder what’s wrong with me’ to mean she is not at home with the instability of her emotions.


  1. d) Is the subject addicted? If so, to what?

The subject is addicted to her sorrow. She says ‘Oh, but, God, I want to let it go’. She expresses her desire to let go her sorrow yet she still feels like holding on. It is possible the subject could be referring to manic episodes which are characterised by elevation of energy. The mania is addictive.


  1. e) What is your overall analysis of the song?

The writer of the song has probably used lithium at one time in her life. She could have used it because of suffering from bipolar. The mania in bipolar is addictive, and it is possible for patients to miss the experience. That is why, in this song, the subject dislikes the intrusion into her sorrow. However, she still expresses a contrary feeling of wanting to let go of the grief. It seems she is so used to it such that letting go is like losing a part of her. It captures the dilemma of a patient with bipolar disorder


  1. a) What characterises Bipolar disorder? What does the “Bi” mean? What does “Polar” mean?

It is a mental condition characterised by lows of depression and highs of mania.

“Bi” means two and the “polar” is two opposite extremes. The disease is characterised by a high and lows of mania and depression.


  1. b) Of the two poles, what do they each mean? One is “maniac”, and one is “depressed”. Describe each in one brief paragraph.

The mania is the highs in disorder which involve moments of elation and high energy. The episode is characterized by irritability, excessive moodiness, over excitement and confidence with reckless decision making. The episodes usually follow mental trauma. It lasts for at least a week.

The depressed episode is the lows of the disorder, and are extended periods of sadness and hopelessness. They are characterized by persistent sadness, difficulty in making decisions, fatigue and change in sleeping habits.


  1. c) List four characteristics of each of the “poles” .

Manic episode

Extreme irritability and unusual destructive behaviour.

Rapid talking and thinking

Provocative and obnoxious behaviour

Unrealistic belief in one’s abilities.

Depressive episodes

Sleep disturbance

Loss of self-esteem

Withdrawal from friends and enjoyable activities


  1. d) What percentage of the world’s population does it affect?

It affects over 2 million American. It is estimated that between 2 and 7% are likely to suffer from the disorder.


  1. e) Is it a result of “Nature” or “Nurture’

Studies have proven relationship between structure of the brain and its possibility to cause Bipolar disorder. Environmental factors such as stress and life events have contributed to the disorder. The condition can be attributed to both nature and nurture.


f)What is the difference between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2?

Bipolar1 is characterised by manic, hypomanic and major depressive episode while Bipolar 2 is characterised by the presence of hypomanic or major depressive episode. You must have experience one manic occurrence and one big depressive episode to diagnose with Bipolar1. People with Bipolar 2 do not experience manic episode which might require hospitalisation.

  1. g) What other physiological diseases are Bipolar symptoms very similar to? Why is it important to make sure we have gotten the right diagnosis?
  2. h) Name four treatment methods other than lithium.

Psychotherapies like psychoanalysis and behaviour therapies.

Biological therapies like medications and electroconvulsive therapy

Psychosurgery for epilepsy and OCD




i)Can you treat a bipolar patient effectively without medication?

Patients can be treated effectively using psychotherapy. It does not involve any medication, yet has proven to be more effective than medication.


  1. j) How was lithium discovered as a treatment for Bipolar?

Around 1950, a psychologist by the name John Cade, was using lithium on pigs to help liquefy uric acid. The pigs became lethargic, and this led to its discovery as a mood stabilizer. It was then tested and proved to be effective, in monitored amounts. It should not be used in excess because it can be toxic.


  1. k) Who commits suicide more often- men or women? Why?

There are gender differences when it comes to suicide. The stories vary depending on suicidal behaviour, successful suicide and even method of suicide. Women are more likely to attempt suicide compared to the men, while the men are more likely to die from the suicide.


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