Objective: To review the history of ‘mood-stabilizing’ treatments.
Method: We have reviewed primary source data on the origin of the use of current mood-stabilizers.
Results: This historical record on the origins of the mood-stabilizers points to a more ambiguous picture as regards pharmacotherapeutic specificity to bipolar disorders than is commonly conceded.
Conclusions: This review suggests a need for alternative formulations of the concept of a mood-stabilizer. An alternative to the currently dominant paradigm is that these agents have treatment effects, which need to be matched more precisely with patients’ constitutional types in order to optimize outcomes.