In recent years the use of blue light therapy has become increasingly more popular. Blue light has been shown to help ease a range of health problems and symptoms including depression and circadian rhythm disorders. The use of these light boxes has been shown to help improve moods, increase energy levels and promote better sleeping patterns. Based on this information, one might assume blue light therapy would also be beneficial to those who suffer from bi-polar disorder. However, there are some problems with using this treatment for people with bi-polar disorder, which we will take a look at in this article.
How light therapy works
Blue light boxes work by emitting specific wavelengths of blue light. This blue light hits the back of the eye and stimulates the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus then regulates the suppression and production of important chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin helps to regulate your appetite and food while melatonin is responsible for your sleep-wake pattern.
Who can use light therapy
Light therapy has been proven as a safe and effective treatment for people who suffer from circadian rhythm disorders, depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Circadian rhythm disorders manifest in a variety of different sleep problems such as insomnia and jet lag. Using the light boxes can help to reset your circadian rhythm so that you have a normal sleep-wake pattern. For people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the light mimics natural sunlight, giving you the necessary light you need during the dark winter months.
The beneficial side effects of using light therapy include better moods, increased energy levels, normal sleep patterns and regular appetite. However, there are some mild side effects that can generally be controlled such as headaches, agitation and nausea. These symptoms usually go away on their own after a few days of starting the light therapy. People who should avoid light therapy are those who have a sensitivity to light or are taking medications that increase sensitivity such as certain antibiotics and herbal supplements like St. John’s Wort. People who suffer from bi-polar disorder are also advised to stay away from blue light therapy.
Why light therapy shouldn’t be used with bi-polar disorder
Light therapy should not be used with people who suffer from bi-polar disorder because it can trigger mania in patients. Light therapy should also not be used with patients who suffer from severe depression, as it has been shown to cause suicidal thoughts for some people.
Light therapy is a great way to help ease the symptoms of sleep disorders, SAD and moderate cases of depression. However, it should not be used in cases of bi-polar disorder or severe depression. If you have any concerns about how the light therapy is affecting your mood, it’s important that you seek professional help right away.