Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, causes periods of depression and periods of elevated mood. Known as mania, hypomania or hyperthymia the elevated mood is significant due to its severity, duration and whether symptoms of psychosis are present. During this period individual behaves abnormally energetic, happy or irritated. Depression, or dysthymia, is followed by periods of euthymia and further hyperthymia or the mania. Euthymia is a normal non-depressed and reasonably positive mood versus hyperthymia which is an extremely elevated mood. Generally, the longer and the more intense the manic period, the harder the crash into the depth of depression. It is the general scientific consensus that the reduction of intensity and duration of the manic period helps the patients with mood stabilization. Approximately 1% of the world population is affected by bipolar disorder.
BIPOLAR DISORDER TIED TO CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS
Bipolar disorder is strongly associated with sleep disorders and circadian rhythms disruption and individuals with the disorder are especially sensitive to light conditions. Although it is not clear whether this is a casual relationship many studies show that quality of sleep and entrained circadian rhythms are very helpful with minimizing and stabilizing mood fluctuations.
Realizing the depressive effect of darkness, in the late 1990s in series of studies scientists used 14 hours of darkness as possible treatment for the manic period. Although the results of these studies were extremely positive, the treatment proved to be impractical and difficult to administer. Very few patients were able to adhere to such rigorous regime and stay in bed for 14 hours daily.
Meanwhile around the year 2000 the discovery of melanopsin, a class of photoreceptors in the eye with direct connection to suprachiasmatic nucleus region of the brain unlocked the direct connection between natural light and circadian rhythms entrainment. It was discovered that only blue light is capable of activating these photoreceptors to send a signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus. They learned eliminating the blue light create virtual darkness, even in a fully lit environment, to the brain and cause the onset of night rhythms. This virtual darkness promotes production and secretion of melatonin just in the same way in which does the real darkness.
In his 2008 published hypothesis, Dr. James Phelps proposed the use of amber lenses to produce a virtual darkness condition for the treatment of bipolar patients during their manic period. Since then, number of studies have shown extremely positive outcomes in terms of reduction of intensity and duration of the manic period in number of patients. A total of 14 hours of darkness in his method is achieved by wearing the amber glasses at 6:00 pm until the scheduled bed time at 12:00 midnight, and waking up at 8:00 am. 6 hours of virtual darkness plus 8 hours of natural darkness in the bedroom has be proven to be a very effective treatment for mania.
HOW CIRCADIAN EYEWEAR CAN HELP BIPOLAR DISORDER
Research points to virtual darkness therapy as a powerful supplementary treatment for the reduction of intensity and duration of the manic period. Stabilizing sleep patterns and the circadian rhythms has shown to improve health and quality of life for people with bipolar disorder.
Circadian Eyewear is a virtual darkness device that induces the production and secretion of melatonin and entrains circadian rhythms. Secretion of melatonin has proven to have a depressing effect during the manic period reducing its intensity and duration. It is recommended to gradually reduce the total darkness from 14 to 10 hours as a more stable mood is achieved.
Circadian Eyewear can help to regulate sleep and synchronize the circadian rhythms which in turn help to reduce the intensity and duration of the manic period. When used as a supplementary treatment, virtual darkness treatment has produced very positive results in the treatment of the manic period.
RESEARCH REGARDING BIPOLAR DISORDER TIED TO CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS
Research From PubMed
Research From Science Direct