Archive for the ‘Meds’ Category

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Don’t go into the light!

June 12, 2007

I finished reading this article, from PsychEducation.org, about how dark therapy might actually supplement (if not actually supplant) medication for managing bipolar disorder. The author of this article falls back on a few different studies that were done, each demonstrating a link between enforced periods of darkness and a reduction in swinging moods. The suggested reason for why this happens, why people with bipolar disorder might benefit from dark therapy, rather than the light therapy given to people with SAD, has to do with our biological clocks. It was a theorized faulty biological clock that researchers were hoping to treat with dark therapy in the first study, as shown by this quote:

“They knew that the a specific part of the hypothalamus, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), has direct nerve connections from the eyes. It gets direct signals about how much light is out there. And it has been shown to be the main location of the ‘”biological clock”‘ in many animals, including humans. They thought that the SCN might get ‘”desensitized”‘ in some susceptible people by too much light, namely too much artificial light at night.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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Lithium’s Function

June 5, 2007

I recently read an article that attempts to describe how lithium works in the treatment or management of bipolar disorder. The article, titled, “How Lithium Helps Bipolar,” can be found on Psych Central News. The article details a study on bipolar brains, made possible by use of new MRI technologies and techniques, that reveals lithium seems to help patients grow more grey matter in regions of the brain associated with emotional regulation. I think this is very interesting, and reading this makes me happy that I gave lithium a second try.

One question I have, though, that the article didn’t answer: what about bipolar people for whom lithium doesn’t work? Does this mean lithium only grows more grey matter in select people; or does it mean that having more grey matter in these specific regions of the brain may not be all that’s necessary for the kind of emotional regulation associated with healthy people?