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Is Lithium causing memory loss??



Mar 8, 2015
I take two medications that cause memory loss (as indicated in the side effects that every prescription comes with). I take 900 mg of lithium per day for 7 years now. It's weird my dose has never needed to be adjusted, I'm always at a .08 (or .8 I dont know) but I've also been on xanex. My dose has increased over time. I'm now at 2mg a day. I've noticed for quite some time now that my memory is not sharp at all. I can not tell you what I did a few days ago unless I really thought hard about it. If you said to me, "What did you do last weekend?" I may or may not be able to remember no matter how hard I have to think. Two weekends ago? I have no clue. I would have to resort to my journal (which i have to do often). I'm 30 years old, and it hard for me to keep track of my illness when I cant remember my cycles. That's where my journal comes in handy. But my memory is getting worse, and my brain seems to not be working anywhere near as well as it did only a year ago. I find myself unable to spell words, forgetting things almost instantly (I need to get a glass of water, I get up and begin walking to the kitchen and then think, wait, what am I doing again?). If Lithium is the culprit, I need to discontinue it. But what would I replace it with? I can't NOT be on medication. I have BP1 and unmedicated I'm sure I'll be dead within a year. If it's the xanex, I need to get off of that. But what would I do about my panic attacks? Or is there a way to improve memory? Cognitive functioning? All I know is a 30 year old woman who never got less than an A in high school, and never less than a B in college, should not have the memory or cognitive dis functioning as severe as an elderly person. Please, any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. BTW, I plan on talking to my doctor about this my next appointment. But I would really love to hear advice from people who actually suffer from this disorder and/or have "been there done that". Thanks.


Well-known member
Oct 21, 2014
Hi PolarOpposite

I don't think I have any useful advice, but thought I would share my experience. I haven't tried Xanax. But Lithium was very bad for me - it did mess up my memory, trouble finding words or remembering anything, even physical memory - one day I forgot how I usually brushed my teeth and had to work out exactly how to do it. It made me very uncoordinated, I couldn't sign my name, my writing was cramped and stilted. It made my hair fall out. And it made me stupid. Oh and it didn't help my mood symptoms! My hair is still very thin months after stopping the drug, at least it has stopped falling out - it could take a couple of years to grow back. So it wasn't good for me.

However it,seems to be helping you so it will be a pity to have to stop. If you are not sure which drug is causing the problem it may be easier to go off the Xanax and see if things improve. Lithium is such a pain to titrate up and down, and the blood tests.

Wish you well.


Well-known member
Jun 6, 2014
South west
I have been on Lithium to treat schizoaffective disorder for several years. I take 800 mg and have a Lithium blood level of 0.9 and 0.8, similar to yours. I have not noticed any memory problems and have found it a great help in combating depression and suicidality. I believe there are other mood stabilisers which your GP might consider. The only problems I have had are with hand tremors and kidney issues.
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