Bright light therapy for bipolar depression

Bright light therapy for bipolar depression. We used to recommend light therapy for people with bipolar disorder with caution. The reason for caution was that light could trigger a manic episode in some people. With more research, we now see that light in the middle of the day (instead of the morning) improves bipolar depression.

In this video, I show how light therapy is used to treat the depressive phase of bipolar disorder.

Video about wake therapy for depression

1. Sit DK, McGowan J, Wiltrout C, et al. Bright light therapy complementary to bipolar depression: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. I'm J Psychiatry. 2017 October 3: appiajp201716101200.
2. Al-Karawi D, Jubair L. Bright light therapy for non-seasonal depression: meta-analysis of clinical trials. It affects the disorder. 2016; 198: 64-71.
3. Golden RN, Gaynes BN, Ekstrom RD, et al. The effectiveness of light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders: a review and a meta-analysis of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry, 2005; 162 (4): 656-662.
4. Geoffroy PA, Bellivier F, Scott J, Etain B. Seasonality and bipolar disorder: a systematic review, from entry rates to the seasonality of symptoms. It affects the disorder. 2014; 168: 210-223.

Disclaimer: all information on this channel is for educational purposes and is not intended to be a specific medical advice or personal from me. View the videos or get answers to comments / questions, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, maybe these videos can help you prepare for your discussion with your doctor.

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Video credits to Dr. Tracey Marks YouTube channel

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Bright light therapy for bipolar depression

Comments 21

  1. I realize this is an off topic question because it doesnt relate to the video but I was curious if you know the best way to explain mental Illnesses like depression to family members who don't understand? A lot of people and parents are uneducated about it and just assume that therapy is for loonies and that people cant have depression unless something traumatic has happened to them. I just want to explain it in a way for them that is simple and they can grasp without getting frustrated and blaming their kid for their symptoms please

  2. Another great video! I received a light therapy lamp for Christmas and wasn't sure if the protocol for someone with bipolar would be different, so I was a little uneasy to use it. (My psychiatrist didn't seem to be very knowledgeable about it, despite being the one to recommend getting one lol) I'm going to start using it and see if it has any benefits. Thanks so much! Your videos are so informative and I always learn something new 🙂

  3. I have a friend with bipolar type I , his mood typically crashes in January/February. It is dark at that time of the year where we live. This year he ended up in the hospital after a suicide attempt. They are completely re-working his medication, I wonder if they've thought of bright light therapy. I think I will ask him.

  4. Has there been any research on people whom have been on long term opioids for 10+ years or any long duration. I may self have been prescribed high doses of OxyContin 60mg every 8 hours. It's been three years since I've been of them but have never felt the same in my head, or body.

  5. Dr. Marks, do you have any thoughts on light therapy glasses like luminette, re-timer, or pegasi?

  6. Hello Dr Tracey Marks, I am new to your channel. However, I was diagnosed with Bipolar in 2012 and in 2014 changed to Multiple personality disorder with Manic depression and psychosis ect.

    I am a single parent of 3 and my family feels that I inform my children of too much. I searched your topics and did not see much on how to manage parenting with these disorders. See additional questions below.

  7. Hi, doctor. I was recently diagnosed bipolar. I first realized I was bipolar after watched one of your videos. My psychologist told me that is gonna take me around a year to figure what kind of bipolar disorder I have. I would like to see a video about what to do once you are diagnosed, what changes? How to accept it? What is waiting for us after the diagnose? Thank you.

  8. Dr. Mark's: I did not seem to respond to light therapy. Do you know of any other treatments besides medication? I take medication for schizoaffective disorder.

  9. Hello, I’m lucky enough to be set with a job in the behavioral health field that allows me time in the afternoon for an hour lunch break. Can I substitute bright light therapy for a walk in the sunshine, or just outside, daily?

  10. Dr Marks,
    I looked online for the full spectrum lighting white light therapy SAD therapy etc. 10,000 LUX I found them but the largest screen I can find is 10 x 6 ? And there are about $50 I was considering picking one up because I used to use my tanning bed yeah I know I’m asking the wrong person I’m Italiano I like my tanning bed I have a 7 foot 3200 W tanning bed 220 V that we bought Used from a salon that one out of business I absolutely love this tanning bed but you mentioned not to use or maybe you mentioned UVA and UVB rays are not needed but I remember when I used to use it many years ago I didn’t get depressed in the winter ❄️ And here it is winter and I’m having a terrible time with depression this year I think it’ll do the job what are your thoughts 💭 Dr Marks?
    General repair

  11. Awesome and very helpful video that gives hope! I actually have a big 10000 Lux Philips lamp. It is a bit old, but I will try this again. I did not know I should do it mid day. I did it early in the mornings with no effect, I only got nauseous, and pain in my eyes as I stared straight info the light. I did it wrong three years ago. Mid day is much better, since I work mostly evening shifts and usually only sleep in the mornings. I hope this light therapy will help with ultra ultra rapid cycling bipolar depression as well. I will start testing it tomorrow. Great tips and video!🌞💡 Thank you so much!🌟🌼

  12. I kind of use bright light therapy when making videos.. lol But it doesn't work but I am glad things come out to help different people. Thanks for sharing

  13. Thanks awsome video!! … can you make a video about “signs you should quit your job” for me it is difficult to separate my mental illnesses from reality and lately I’ve been feeling melancolic all the time specially at night and in the morning just before I go to work … I don’t want to make a bad decision. Maybe it’s my job … maybe it’s just me.

  14. Hello, I wanted to know : Is light from computer screen enough if I go on google image or something and search for a big white image, or only "true" light works ? I think I will try it even if I go out a lot so I get light from the sun

  15. I just discovered your channel yesterday and I love it! You have an awesome approach to these topics and you're very likable. I especially loved the video you did on Bipolar and Impostor syndrome. It came at a good time as I have been having many difficulties with that lately. If you have the time and interest, would you be willing to ever do a video talking about prodromal phases of psychosis or schizophrenia spectrum disorders? Is it possible to remain in a prodromal phase with many symptoms yet never become fully psychotic (or if in bipolar, never acutely psychotic outside of mood episodes, but still experiencing residual, mild psychotic symptoms?

  16. What is the reason behind doing it mid-day instead of the morning? Could it trigger mania more easily when done in the morning?

  17. Hi Dr Marks. Thank you for your fantastic videos! You provide information in such a digestible manner!
    I want to try wake and light therapy for dysthymia. I have a question. I live in South Africa, so the equipment is not as readily available as in other countries. What are the lighting options if I can't find a light box? Can I rely on apps or other household lights? Many thanks in advance.

  18. Not saying for anyone to do this but I was doing some light tanning for a trip and it’s really seem to lessen my bp depression. Only saying that I need to look into the light therapy. When I’m depressed I rarely go outside and get any kind of light.

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