Light therapy is one of the modern means of therapy used for treating a wide range of mental health conditions. The method was invented approximately forty years ago, and now it has become the crown jewel of the therapy industry. As the days pass by, more and more industries are involving light therapy to provide the best benefits to the consumers. Although the therapy has shifted a lot from its initial purpose, it still has raging effectiveness in treating mental health conditions. Today we will be discussing one of those conditions, which is bipolar depression, and how light therapy can help people with such difficulties.
What is Bipolar Depression?
Simply, bipolar depression is an imbalance in brain chemistry causing extreme emotional ups and downs in a person. This chronic disorder brings out certain difficulties that prevent a person from leading a usual life. It is a lifelong disease, and without treatment, the condition only gets worse. A person suffering from bipolar depression finds performing simple everyday tasks quite challenging. There is still no definitive method for curing this illness. However, there are methods to manage the symptoms with medication and therapy.
Overview of the Problem
A growing number of people are now diagnosed with bipolar depression. A study showed that about six million people in America over the age of 18 are affected by bipolar disorder. Foul mood, low self-esteem, hopelessness, troubled sleep, lack of appetite are some of the noticeable consequences of bipolar depression. This condition can occur every few years or, in severe cases, several times a year. Medications and psychotherapy are deemed helpful for some patients; however, light therapy has opened a prospective door in treating bipolar disorder.
How Can Light Therapy Help?
Light has an exceptional impact on our bodies and minds. Light works in our body on a cellular level, induces healing and helps in reviving the damaged cells. Thus, our interrupted bodily functions gain a well-deserved boost, resulting in restoring the circadian rhythm. Bipolar depression heavily disrupts the circadian rhythm of a person. So, whenever the rhythm is restored, the problem seems to resolve itself. We said medications and psychotherapy could also help in treating bipolar disorder. Although, light therapy can accomplish it without any side effects and within a short period of time. For such outcomes, researchers are heavily keen on exploring light therapy in treating bipolar depression. The best part is, you can even take light therapy at home.
The procedure of Receiving Light Therapy
People living in cold and dark places are mostly affected by bipolar depression. There are suggestions that dark days reduce the production of serotonin in the skin. Therefore, the person diagnosed with bipolar depression exposes himself to an artificial light source mimicking the natural sunlight. The lightboxes come in various shapes and sizes. These boxes contain LED light bulbs; therefore, there are no harmful UV rays. The patients are often instructed to expose themselves in front of the therapy boxes, one foot apart, and receive the light for fifteen to sixty minutes. The person doesn’t necessarily need to look at the light source for the entire time. They can conduct daily life chores while keeping the light source one foot apart and receive the benefits.
Light therapy is a non-invasive, painless procedure. However, patients with bipolar disorder, who are highly sensitive to light, can experience manic episodes while receiving light therapy. This condition mostly occurs when the patient is exposed to bright light early in the morning. Therefore, it is recommended to receive red light therapy under the supervision of a professional. Additionally, receiving bright light therapy during mid-day can reduce the risk of hypomania. When light therapy is received with substantial precautions, it can provide benefits within a short period of time and effectively.
Light therapy is really in an early stage of development, but it has got an exceptional buzz from all around. Bipolar depression is a brain disorder causing unusual mood shifts, energy, activity levels, and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Light therapy is offering a glimmer into a new pathway for treatment. Moreover, some bipolar patients may not even benefit from antidepressants. This depression is the most difficult type of depression, and light therapy is showing substantial promise in managing such conditions. Therefore, more research is required to perfect this therapy for providing the best benefits to the common peer.
People with bipolar disorder are often seen to spend most of their time on the depressive end of the spectrum. Although mood stabilizers can help in treating the manic phase of bipolar depression, it fails miserably when it comes to tending the depressive phase. Light therapy can exceptionally help in controlling such depressive symptoms and provide the person a healthy and active life. The technology has not been properly calibrated yet, but it’s not long until we get a perfect solution for bipolar depression.