Light Therapy and Bipolar Disorder

New research shows that light therapy can help women bipolar disorder. Reuters reports:
Bright light treatment started out as a way to relieve winter depression, but it has since been shown to be effective for seasonal and non-seasonal major depression. It could also benefit people with bipolar disorder, in which moods swing from depression to mania, note the authors of the report in the medical journal Bipolar Disorders.


To see what "dose" of bright light might be best, Dr. Dorothy Sit, of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania, and colleagues conducted a small study with nine women in the depression phase of bipolar disorder who were unresponsive to conventional treatments.

The women were given light boxes and used them for 15, 30, and 45 minutes daily, each for 2-week periods. Four patients used them in the morning and five at midday.

Of the four subjects treated with morning light, three developed mixed states; that is, "symptoms of depression and mania that occur at the same time -- racing thoughts, irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety and low mood," Sit explained in a press release.
Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of light therapy. In fact, he sells therapeutic lights on DrFuhrman.com.
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Anna - February 27, 2008 5:58 AM

Wow. It seems the range of problems that light therapy can treat is ever-expanding! It's great that a therapy with so few side effects is producing such positive results.

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