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What is lithium used for?

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Quick Answer

Lithium is used in the medical profession to treat mental disorders and a range of other physical abnormalities that arise from certain ailments, such as arthritis and kidney disorders. Lithium is an element found in virtually all stone found on Earth, which is why it is named after the Greek word "lithos," or stone.

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Full Answer

Lithium is a soft, silvery metal, with the atomic number of 3. Lithium is lightest and softest solid element under stable conditions. Pure lithium is typically stored in oil to prevent combustion or other reactions in the element, as it is an alkali metal, meaning it is extremely reactive. Its reactive nature means that lithium is never encountered in pure form in the natural world. It is usually found within compounds, much like the various minerals that make up the Earth's crust.

The form of lithium used in medicine is usually an ionic compound that contains lithium as a main component. Lithium interacts with the human body's electrical receptors, and it can heavily affect the human brain to its benefit or detriment. Some lithium salts are considered toxic and have no known medical usage as a result. Because of its medical effects, it is commonly known as a psychiatric medication.

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