Monday, April 15, 2013

Light Therapy Can Help With Bipolar Disorder

Affective mood disorders of various types and intensities are experiences by people all over the world. Some people experience mild types of mood disorders like SAD and SSAD (seasonal and subsyndromal seasonal affective disorders) while in a few cases, much more serious disorders like the Bi-polar disorder affect their lives in many negative ways for many years.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar affective disorder, also called bipolar affective disorder or manic depressive disorder. Those who suffer from this are prone to experiencing highly elevated moods at times (mania-manic) as well as severe depression (depression-depressive) states of mind during episodes, hence the term bipolar. There are also hypomanic episodes experienced by sufferers, which are characterized by excess energy and mild to moderate mania (observable in activity, speech and as generally high optimism). These two moods may alternate rapidly or be separated by periods where the sufferer behaves completely normally. The causes of this disorder are associated with both genetic and environmental factors. disorder afflicts more than 5 million Americans, 2 out of every hundred, in some form or severity, which is a cause for treatment through psychiatric help and / or medication. There are two main forms of the disorder, Bipolar 1 and bipolar 2.

Symptoms of Bipolar 1: One or more manic (elated) or mixed episodes occur in some sequence without the occurrence of a depressive episode.

Symptoms of Bipolar 2: In this type of disorder, hypomanic episodes occur rather than actual manic ones along with the occurrences of a major depressive episode.

Light therapy Treatment in relation to the sleep cycle

Along with the abnormal mood conditions, people with this disorder also suffer erratic sleep-wake cycles (Circadian rhythms). Studies have shown that regulating this sleep cycle using various forms of light therapy (as it is used for SAD - seasonal affective disorder patients) can not only improve sleep-wake conditions but also help normalize the mood in bipolar disorder patients a great deal.

In recent studies by the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine's Western Psychiatric Institute, published in the journal of bipolar disorders, bright light therapy (which includes blue light treatment - which is highly effective for similar mood disorders) is effective is easing bipolar disorder (science daily), especially of the treatment sessions are up to 45 minutes long, conducted at mid-day (i.e. not in the morning or at night). Clinical studies showed that over 60 % of the people tested on this treatment with varying schedules responded to a positive extent, while out of the whole sample, at least half of the people tested responded fully to the treatment (science daily).

Light sources emitting 10000 lux blue or full spectrum light at a distance of 60cm, used for sessions either in the morning or mid-day (at whichever time the sufferer responds best to a treatment), and for sessions between thirty minutes to one hour in length are generally considered to be the best for treatment, causing a positive change within a week of treatment in many cases.





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