Jul 07

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Your Circadian Rhythm and Bipolar Disorder: Can Bright Light Therapy Help?

Your Circadian Rhythm and Bipolar Disorder: Can Bright Light Therapy Help?

Your Circadian Rhythm and Bipolar Disorder: Can Bright Light Therapy Help?


Your circadian rhythm is the 24 hour cycle that helps shape your sleep patterns. Often called a body clock, the circadian rhythm changes throughout the day and can make you more or less alert. Now, new research reveals that your body clock can play a role in bipolar disorder.

The Dangers of Abnormal Circadian Rhythms

Researchers found that an abnormal circadian rhythm was responsible for higher levels of stress and anxiety. In addition, they noticed a pattern of abnormal circadian rhythms among people with bipolar disorder. The scientists involved in the study believe that the out of sync body clock is making bipolar symptoms worse in patients.

The study findings show that people with abnormal circadian rhythms are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. Furthermore, these mood disorders can appear more prominently in the morning in some cases. However, there is hope for patients who have an out of sync body clock, and researchers plan to continue to focus on new treatments.

Light Therapy Treatment Details

Light therapy is one potential treatment for people who have abnormal circadian rhythms. This type of therapy is usually used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and helps those who live in colder climates and do not have enough access to the sun. Light therapy can also help regulate the body clock, so it has potential as an extra treatment option for bipolar disorder.

Researchers recommend proceeding with caution and point out that light therapy is not a replacement for bipolar medication or counseling sessions. However, it can help patients who are struggling with their sleep patterns. There are multiple devices called light therapy boxes, which resemble bright lamps, that can help.

Bipolar disorder is a complex condition, and researchers continue to uncover new aspects. The latest research reveals that abnormal circadian rhythms are common among those who have bipolar disorder. Light therapy may help regulate the body clock, so it is one potential treatment.  Our psychiatrist recommended a specific lamp that we use in our family.   It helps immensely.

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