Light Therapy & Bipolar Depression: The Experts Weigh-in

For decades, the topic of mental illness was taboo and generally brushed under the rug. Many people were ashamed to speak out about their mental illness and kept their experiences to themselves. Over the past couple of years, mental health has become at the forefront of public discussion, with more people sharing their experiences and outwardly looking for support.

For decades, the topic of mental illness was taboo and generally brushed under the rug. Many people were ashamed to speak out about their mental illness and kept their experiences to themselves. Over the past couple of years, mental health has become at the forefront of public discussion, with more people sharing their experiences and outwardly looking for support.

In the United States alone, almost half of adults (46.6%) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Globally, it's estimated that at least 10 percent of the world's population suffer from some type of mental disorder. These numbers hold significant meaning.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness accounts for 30% of non-fatal diseases and 10% of overall disease worldwide. This is huge. But let’s take a closer look.For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on a specific mental disorder: bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a neurobiological brain disorder that affects approximately 2.3 million Americans today. The disease causes extreme shifts in mood, concentration, and energy levels. These mood shifts can range from very "up," irritable, or energized behavior (manic episodes) to very "down," sad and hopeless behavior (depressive episodes).

There are three types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I disorder: defined as manic episodes that last at least 7 days. Episodes of depression are possible.
  • Bipolar II disorder: pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years.

Aside from the extreme mood swings, bipolar disorder can affect different areas of the body. Since it primarily affects the brain, it can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hyperventilation
  • Change in weight
  • Increased heart rate
  • Stomach aches
  • Muscular pain

However, bipolar disorder can also cause major depression, specifically during periods of extended low-periods. Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, think, and act. It takes away the ability to experience pleasure, causing severe sadness, decreased appetite, low self-esteem, and irritability. Severe depression can even cause hallucinations or delusions.

While treatment for bipolar depression is typically mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medication, light therapy can help as a non-pharmaceutical option.

Light therapy treatment in bipolar depression has demonstrated significant effects in treating this mental illness, specifically during depressive periods. One study showed that 67% of patients who were given bright light therapy experienced a full response and remission compared to the 33% who were given a placebo.

But how does light therapy and bipolar function together? Well, for one, light therapy majorly improves the circadian system. Our circadian rhythms, our 24 biological clocks, are severely disrupted in bipolar disorder. However, manipulating the circadian rhythm via light therapy can help decrease sleep deprivation and improve deep sleep. By improving one’s sleep, and receiving the right amounts of red light, light therapy has positive effects on mood, mental and physical well-being.

Light therapy also increases cell turnover rate, which helps people operate better at a fundamental level. Having healthy, happy cells is key in optimal mental and physical health.

Naturally, light therapy isn't a stand-alone solution for bipolar disorder. This treatment can be combined with bipolar medication and therapy. However, with the help of light therapy, patients may be able to lower their dose of medication than otherwise needed.

At Kaiyan, we're proud to produce MDA-certified and FDA-approved light therapy devices that help people live more balanced and healthy lives. If you've been looking to treat your patients with non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment options for bipolar depression, light therapy is the perfect solution.

Not only has light therapy shown significant effects on reducing the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression, but all of Kaiyan's devices are ideal for at-home or in-clinic treatments to improve one's well-being and quality of life.

If you're interested in learning more about light therapy for personal use or for your business, please reach out to our team.

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Medical Devices

Improving Mental Acuity with Light Therapy

It’s common knowledge that as we age, our normal brain function gets disrupted. We tend to find it harder to recall information, memorize names, and respond with reason. The decline of our mental acuity causes these commonplace mental problems. Contrary to popular belief, aging is not the sole culprit for mental deterioration. Many factors, such as aging, lifestyle changes, and environmental stress, contribute to the decline of mental acuity.

As cognitive decline progresses, significant mental changes can result in disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. While these can be common aspects of life, they aren’t inevitable. Many medical experts believe that there are many lifestyle changes that you can take to prevent the degradation of Mental Acuity.

What is Mental Acuity?

Mental acuity is known as the sharpness of the mind. It involves our cognitive ability to concentrate, process, understand, reason, and memorize. On the other hand, intelligence means the extent to which our brains absorb and process a specific amount of information at a given amount of time. Mental acuity is a natural and essential aspect of our brain health and is not a measure of how “smart” we are.

Mental acuity allows us to perform daily activities effectively and efficiently. When our cognitive ability functions well, we’re more capable of doing things without damage or conflict.

What are the symptoms of a Deteriorating Mental Acuity?

Some signs of a deteriorating cognitive ability may be subtle. However, when left untreated could progress over time to more serious mental disorders. According to the National Institute on Aging, 8 out of 10 people who experience amnestic mild cognitive impairment develop into having Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are some early symptoms of a deteriorating mental acuity:

  • Absent-mindedness and having trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness of specific details like names, dates, events, and facts
  • Inability to reason and make vital decisions
  • Difficulty in retrieving information
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty in following simple instructions

How to Improve Mental Acuity

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to developing chronic brain disorders. Here’s how you can take your brain health into your own hands by observing these lifestyle habits:

  1. Ensure a well-balanced diet

Getting enough nutrition is the key to ensure mental sharpness. Making sure you eat a well-balanced diet can help your body supply enough nutrients to your brain. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are essential nutrients that help build and restore brain cells. The brain also needs antioxidants to prevent inflammation.

Excessive intake of toxins such as alcohol and drug can depreciate your mental ability. Experts agree that poor gut health also results in a weakened immune system. As a result, it weakens your body’s inflammatory response. A poor inflammatory response causes mental disorders such as schizophrenia and dementia.

  1. Have Enough Sleep

Irregular sleep patterns and sleep deprivation disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm that can lead to short-term mental problems as well as long-term chronic health problems.

Your body’s circadian rhythm is a natural body clock that controls your sleep-wake schedule as well as your digestive patterns. When you’re sleep-deprived, these rhythms get disturbed. As a result, you experience headaches, mood swings, and difficulty to focus and recall information. Aside from these unwanted effects, not having enough sleep also negatively impacts your overall brain health.

  1. Get Yourself Moving

Exercise isn’t just for physical and aesthetic purposes. It also affects brain function in multiple ways. When you exercise, your body pumps more oxygen into your brain through an increased heart rate. Exercise allows your body to release hormones that are vital in nourishing your brain cells. It also promotes growth factors in your brain to assist in the growth of neuronal connections.

A study at the University of Georgia shows that a 20-minute exercise daily can improve memory retention and information processing. Many experts agree that a sedentary lifestyle may accelerate your way into cognitive decline.

  1. Use Red Light Therapy

Red Light therapy is a more modern approach to non-invasive and low-risk medical treatments. It is a form of photobiomodulation that allows light to change human cells' physiology that causes a wide range of benefits such as biological balance and cellular energy.

Kaiyan Medical is one of the pioneers of Red light therapy that uses red wavelengths to deliver benefits to the skin and near-infrared lights to penetrate deeper within the skin’s surface. This dual technology allows for better absorption and effectiveness of the benefits of Red light therapy.

As near-infrared wavelengths penetrate the brain’s cellular system, it promotes energy production by stimulating the mitochondria. It also prevents stress by keeping away oxidative stress. Thus, it delivers multiple benefits such as better blood flow, faster cell regeneration, and improved healing.

A study shows that red light therapy has significantly improved brain function when given to patients with cognitive dysfunction. All these benefits are vital in promoting and maintaining a healthy mental acuity. Red light therapy delivers all these cellular benefits to promote better sleep quality and a more balanced circadian clock.

As you maintain these lifestyle changes, you can experience a more improved brain function and better brain health. Now you can defy all odds and allow your brain to perform at its peak by having a healthy lifestyle and a balanced body.

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