We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
There are a couple of problems to note about Lithium and other drugs used to deal with bi-polar disorder. One is that the drug(s) itself is toxic and over time can kill you. It can destroy your liver.
Another is that people with bi-polar disorder don't want to take the drugs. A typical sequence of events is: The bi-polar individual finally does something bad enough to require forced or coerced treatment. The treatment works, it may take weeks to months but it works and the patient is remarkably normal and can function. The coercion cannot be maintained and is removed and the patient who feels fine and doesn't have clear memory or understanding of past action prior to the medication stops using the drug. Within 24-48 hours the patient is back to full bi-polar or sometimes worse than before using the drug. The patient remembers the coercion or being institutionalized and actively resists any efforts to be medicated or treated. Because of this active resistance and aversion they are now a worse threat to themselves or others.
Another factor in the problem is drug use. People with bi-polar disorder are far more prone to use illegal drugs AND far more prone to develop additional mental disorders as a result of the illegal drug use.
The ex-husband of a childhood friend is bipolar. He would stop taking lithium when he felt better, and then go back into the manic/depressive cycle. She divorced him because he kept going off lithium. IOW, she witnessed a number of such cycles.
In looking at the psychiatric drugs in use, I would wager that even with the need to closely monitor lithium intake to avoid toxicity, lithium is one of the more successful psychiatric drugs. When it is used.