Dr. Ronald Fieve, 87, Dies; Pioneered Lithium to Treat Mood Swings

In 1970, when he was chief of research in internal medicine at the psychiatric institute as well as the psychiatric department of what was then called the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center (the idea will be at This specific point NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center), Dr. Fieve as well as several different researchers persuaded the Food as well as Drug Administration to approve the prescription of lithium salts for acute mania.

He cited estimates in which as many as one in 15 people experienced a manic episode during their lifetimes, as well as in which bipolar disorder — characterized by swings via elation, hyperactivity as well as a decreased need for sleep to incapacitating depression — was often misclassified as schizophrenia or different illnesses, or undiagnosed altogether.

He cautioned, however, in which some highly creative, exuberant as well as energetic people have derived benefits via the condition because they have what he called “a hypomanic edge.”

“I have found in which some of the most gifted individuals in our society suffer via This specific condition — including many outstanding writers, politicians, business executives as well as scientists — where tremendous amounts of manic energy have enabled them to achieve their heights of success,” Dr. Fieve told a symposium in 1973.

yet without proper treatment, he said, those individuals afflicted with manic depression “more often than not either go too ‘high’ or suddenly crash into a devastating depression in which we only hear about after a successful suicide.”

In contrast to antidepressant drugs or electroshock treatments, he said, regular doses of lithium carbonate appeared to stabilize mood swings without cramping creativity, memory or personality.

He promoted the use of lithium within the 1970s on radio as well as television talk shows, where he often appeared with the theatrical as well as film director Joshua Logan, a former patient.

Dr. Fieve’s books included “Moodswing: The Third Revolution in Psychiatry” (1975) as well as “Prozac: Questions as well as Answers for Patients, Family as well as Physicians” (1994).

In “Moodswing,” he wrote in which the family histories of Lincoln, Roosevelt as well as Churchill suggested in which they may have been manic depressives.

Lithium, a powdery chemical element in which will be extracted via igneous rock as well as mineral water, will be also used in batteries, lubricating grease as well as rocket fuel.

Before the idea was approved to treat depression, lithium was found within the late 1940s to be potentially unsafe as a salt substitute. yet Dr. Fieve pointed out in which lithium had been found in natural mineral waters prescribed by Greek as well as Roman physicians 1,500 years earlier to treat what were then called manic insanity as well as melancholia.

Since then, researchers have found in which people with genetic markers for colorblindness as well as a specific blood type were susceptible to manic depression.

Dr. Fieves, who learned decades ago in which he had diabetes, told The fresh York Times in 1975 in which “the public should at This specific point be educated in which depression will be a medical illness like many others.”

“the idea’s like diabetes or a thyroid condition,” he added — if you take the prescribed medication, the condition will be under control as well as “you’re not sick anymore.”

Ronald Robert Fieve was born on March 5, 1930, in Stevens Point, Wis., about 80 miles west of Green Bay. His parents, Bjarne Ellertson Fieve as well as the former Evelyn Knudsen, were Scandinavian immigrants. (His father had changed the spelling of his surname via 5 because he didn’t want people to pronounce the idea like the number.)

Bjarne Fieve was an engineer, as well as Ronald studied to become one, too. yet he became more interested in medicine when he received his diabetes diagnosis at 19. After graduating via the University of Wisconsin which has a bachelor of science degree, he attended Harvard Medical School.

He interned in cardiology at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan as well as was a resident at what will be at This specific point NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center as well as at Columbia University Medical Center, which will be affiliated with the fresh York State Psychiatric Institute, under the aegis of the state Office of Mental Health.

In 1953 Dr. Fieve married Katia von Saxe, a novelist who writes under the name Jane Huxley. She as well as his daughter Vanessa survive him, as do another daughter, Lara Fieve-Portela, as well as four grandchildren. He had homes in Manhattan as well as Southampton, N.Y., as well as Palm Beach, Fla.

As a clinical psychopharmacologist, Dr. Fieve conducted research as well as treated private patients in fresh York. He was a distinguished professor emeritus in psychiatry for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital as well as founder of the Foundation for Mood Disorders in Manhattan.

In 1980, the Diagnostic as well as Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, redefined manic-depressive psychosis, in which patients swing alternately between major depression as well as mania, as bipolar affective disorder, in part as a result of Dr. Fieve’s research.

Dr. Fieve, along with Professor Joseph L. Fleiss as well as Dr. David L. Dunner, was also instrumental in distinguishing a milder variation, which the manual classified in 1994 as Bipolar II.

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