Monthly Archives: August 2012

Melatonin, blue light therapy, and bipolar disorder articles

Well, found some more great articles to share on blue light, melatonin and blue blocking:

see some personal stories:

Bipolar Disorder: Good Results With Blue-Blocker Glasses

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 At the Shangri-La Diet forums, Anima writes:
I have been diagnosed with ADHD and Bipolar II disorder.  I am also a Non-24, a chronic circadian rhythm disorder where one’s body thinks a day is longer than 24 hours. . . .I’ve been using amber safety glasses (around $3 in the hunting section of the sporting goods store) for dark therapy.  I put them on 3 hours before I want to go to sleep.  They block blue light, allowing dark therapy without the dark.  I also wear an eye mask while I sleep.  The glasses make me look like a big weirdo, but they really work.  It’s easier to get to sleep, and they prevent hypomania (the milder form of mania that people with Bipolar II experience) better than any medication I have tried.  It makes sense that almost anyone could benefit from them, because our ancestors were not exposed to blue light after dark

this has some interesting stories, developments of blue light treatment of just the last 4 years!

Check out the entire article, its worth your time.

In a March 2008 paper Figuerio came up with another interesting idea.  She proposed that gas stations and truck stops purposely use blue lighting to wake up drivers and reduce highway accidents.  She suggests that truckers take 30 minute ‘light baths’ during the night to keep alert while driving.  She is currently testing whether illuminating the interiors of truck cabs with blue LED lights is feasible.
It’s not just teenagers who have chronic sleep problems. Old people can have as much trouble sleeping at the correct time of day as teenagers.  Older patients tell me they can’t sleep through the night but must nap during the day.
Russell Foster at Imperial College London pointed out one possible explanation for this in a New Scientist interview,  “In old age, the lens and cornea of the eye start to yellow, which means the eye filters out the blue light needed to set their circadian rhythm.”
Certain types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, cause a loss of neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the part of the brain that controls the circadian clock and sleep. As a result, the internal clock for those with Alzheimer’s may be off by several hours, leaving them too awake at night.
Thinking that this might be a sort of ‘use it or lose it’ scenario, a Dutch researcher tried stimulating the deteriorating brains of senile rats with light.   Eus van Someren from the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research in Amsterdam exposed old rats that had SCN cell deterioration and sleep disturbances to bright light and found their sleep patterns became healthy and the SCN neurons were reactivated.

Researchers have tried similar approaches with people. Ancoli-Israel et al in the American Journal of Geriatrics, 2002 reported a nursing home experiment.

Seventy-seven residents, average age of 86 were assigned to one of four treatments: evening bright light, morning bright light, daytime sleep restriction, or evening dim red light. In just ten days of treatment,  “… increasing exposure to morning bright light delayed the acrophase of the activity rhythm and made the circadian rhythm more robust.”

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Positives of Bipolar: Advantages, emotions, creativity. etc.

Research Explores the Positives of Bipolar Disorder

ScienceDaily (May 3, 2012) — The problems of living with bipolar have been well documented, but a new study by Lancaster University has captured the views of those who also report highly-valued, positive experiences of living with the condition.

Researchers at Lancaster’s Spectrum Centre, which is dedicated to the study of bipolar disorder, interviewed and recorded their views of ten people with a bipolar diagnosis, aged between 24 and 57. Participants in the study reported a number of perceived benefits to the condition ranging from to sharper senses to increased productivity.
The research was designed to explore growing evidence that some people with bipolar value their experiences and in some cases would prefer not to be without the condition.
Participants described a wide range of experiences and internal states that they believed they felt to a far greater intensity than those without the condition. These included increased perceptual sensitivity, creativity, focus and clarity of thought.
Some held (or had previously held) high functioning professional jobs or had been studying for higher level qualifications. They described in detail how they experienced times when tasks that are usually quite difficult or time consuming, would feel incredibly easy and the ability to achieve at a high level during these times was clearly immensely rewarding.
Others expressed the view that they felt ‘lucky’ or even ‘blessed’ to have the condition.
Alan, (not his real name) one of the interviewees, said: “It’s almost as if it opens up something in the brain that isn’t otherwise there, and I see colour much more vividly than I used to……So I think that my access to music and art are something for which I’m grateful to bipolar for enhancing. It’s almost as if it’s a magnifying glass that sits between that and myself.”
Researchers even found some people with bipolar reaped positive experiences from their lows such as greater empathy with the suffering of others.
Dr Fiona Lobban, who led the study, said: “Bipolar Disorder is generally seen as a severe and enduring mental illness with serious negative consequences for the people with this diagnosis and their friends and family. For some people this is very much the case. Research shows that long term unemployment rates are high, relationships are marred by high levels of burden on family and friends and quality of life is often poor. High rates of drug and alcohol misuse are reported for people with this diagnosis and suicide rates are twenty times that of the general population.
“However, despite all these factors researchers and clinicians are aware that that some aspects of bipolar experiences are also highly valued by some people. We wanted to find out what these positive experiences were.
“People were very keen to take part in this study and express views which some felt had to be hidden from the medical profession.
“It is really important that we learn more about the positives of bipolar as focusing only on negative aspects paints a very biased picture that perpetuates the view of bipolar as a wholly negative experience. If we fail to explore the positives of bipolar we also fail to understand the ambivalence of some people towards treatment.”
Rita Long from Stockport was not part of the study but can identify with its findings. She was 40 when she was diagnosed with the condition but from her school days she was aware that she experienced the world differently to her twin sister.
“We were making Christmas cakes at school and I was so interested and excited by it and my sister says she remembers watching me and thinking, ‘I really wish I could get that excited about making a Christmas cake’. I noticed things, experienced them with a different level of intensity, we’d be on a walk and I’d be saying look at the colour of this, and my sister would be saying, ‘It’s just a berry’. Socially too, people with bipolar can be quite quick witted, humorous. Until much later in life I just presumed those things were part of my personality.
“I don’t want to underestimate how difficult the bad times can be that some people go through with bipolar but at the same time I feel very passionate about the positives. If we are going to move on as a society — in academia, in business, in entertainment — we need people who will push boundaries. People with bipolar can do that.”

Also, we recommend the book: Bipolar Advantage

Click here for our main Bipolar blog

Natives Americans reduce drinking problem with spirituality

Native American Spiritual Beliefs Influential in Spurring Youth to Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2012) — New research indicates that urban native American youth who follow American Indian traditional spiritual beliefs are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. Arizona State University social scientists will present their findings at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver, Colorado.

The study, “Spirituality and Religion: Intertwined Protective Factors for Substance Use Among Urban American Indian Youth,” was recently published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. The authors are: Stephen Kulis, the study’s principal investigator and ASU School of Social and Family Dynamics professor; David R. Hodge, ASU School of Social Work associate professor; Stephanie L. Ayers, ASU Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center associate director of research; Eddie F. Brown, ASU American Indian Studies professor and American Indian Policy Institute executive director; and Flavio F. Marsiglia, ASU School of Social Work professor.
click here for remainder of article:


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Bipolar Disorder? Meditation, find the type for you and know why you should do it.

Meditation makes you more creative.

Science News

… from universities, journals, and other research organizations

Meditation Makes You More Creative

ScienceDaily (Apr. 19, 2012) — Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. This is the outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers at Leiden University, published 19 April in Frontiers in Cognition.

This study is a clear indication that the advantages of particular types of meditation extend much further than simply relaxation. The findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we think and how we experience events.
Two ingredients of creativity
The study investigates the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.

  • Divergent thinking Divergent thinking allows many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the so-called Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen.

    click here for the rest of this story:

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Soft Bipolar Cyclothymia: Walking as meditation

Walking as Meditation: Quiet Your Mind as You Improve Your Health

Posted: 08/23/2012 12:06 pm

Movement as a vehicle for personal growth and awareness has been a long-standing practice in many traditions. Yoga, T’ai Chi, and Chi Gong are all meditative practices that use the body as a portal to experience a deeper sense of self by observing, feeling and guiding specific movements. You can transform walking into a meditative practice and learn to manage stress, relieve anxiety and deepen your sense of self.
Walking’s innumerable health benefits have been well-researched and documented. From a reduction in heart disease, cancer and diabetes to increased mental cognition to an overall sense of well being, walking 4-5 times a week for 30-60 minutes improves the quality of your life. When you add conscious awareness and focus you have a recipe for an even more profound transformation.

the rest of this article at Huffington post


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Being your authentic self

Pride Goes Before a Fall, While Concern for Others Could Heal the World

Posted: 08/20/2012 7:45 am

My friend Matthew called me several years ago to let me know he was getting a divorce. He had found proof that his wife was cheating. She denied it for several months, hoping that Matthew would overlook her indiscretion and that she wouldn’t have to admit to it. But Matthew wanted honesty. “I would have agreed to a fresh start, but without honesty or even a heartfelt apology, that’s just not possible.” I understood his reasoning. How can you trust someone who only thinks of themselves?
Hearing from Matthew again recently, I began reflecting on his life experience, and on my good fortune to be raised by parents who felt it their duty to pop the vapid bubbles of arrogance should they have cropped up in my childhood home. An arched eyebrow with a targeted, “you might want to rethink that” was enough to get me to do just that.
Confidence was to be earned, I was taught. It didn’t come any other way. Arrogance was just another word for false pride in our home — empty, fake, inauthentic, and it didn’t get any attention or respect. “Arrogance won’t leave you anything to stand on,” my dad would say. So, the focal point in my life path became — authentic.
If you developed an authentic skill, you were allowed to be proud of your accomplishment. But you weren’t given any room or attention for false pride. Your successes and your struggles didn’t give you permission to be rude or unkind or thoughtless in any way. I appreciate and respect my parents for setting that standard, particularly as I pass that standard on to my own children today.
Though as a teenager I remember accusing my parents of such, they didn’t want to take any of the joy out of our wins or eliminate a place for our sense of struggle, but they did want us to be protected and grounded. Authentic self-development and confidence empowers a belief in one’s self. And any kind of puffery will wither you to the core over time, leaving you alone and frightened.
I ran into Matthew recently and as we caught each other up on our lives, he shared that his 13-year friendship with someone we both knew had ended. While going through a challenging time, Matthew had made the mistake of speaking poorly behind his friend’s back and she found out about it. Rather than have it out with him, she created distance and ultimately drifted away from the relationship altogether. Matthew admitted he had been a poor friend to her in other ways and confided that in hindsight, he ought to have just reached out and apologized to her for being a jerk. “I just made everything worse by pretending I wasn’t at fault. I never knew until now that pride was a weakness my former wife and I shared.”

When Matthew and I lived in the same town, we would often talk about apologies and when to offer them. Matthew never felt he needed to apologize if some harm he caused wasn’t intentional. And like a lot of people, he didn’t want to apologize when he had a hard time admitting he was wrong and had made a mistake. There it was again. Arrogance — that insidious destroyer of relationships, rearing its ugly head.
I would always argue his point, as I do today. What if you were driving a bus down the road and hit someone accidentally? Would you jump out of the bus and yell, “I didn’t mean to!” and drive away? Or worse, get offended if they were upset with you for swiping them? “It was an accident! Why are you so mad at me?!” Or would you jump out and say, “I’m so sorry! Are you okay? How can I help you? What do you need?” Hopefully most people would take the latter path, and think of the other person before they thought to protect themselves and their worthless pride.
It’s no different in relationships of every kind. If you hurt someone, intentionally or accidentally, take responsibility for your actions, apologize, and ask them what you can do to help make it right. Then, within reason, follow through and do it. Be authentic.
It doesn’t matter if you think they may not be willing to accept your apology, that’s not your business. If they’ve been hurt, they may need the space to feel disappointed for a while in order to get through what’s happened. What is your business is that you own up to your mistakes. That shows — hopefully, anyway — that you’re accepting responsibility and you’re willing to do things differently from this point forward.
Apologies and authentic regret are powerful healers in relationships. They can bridge emotional distance, heal hurt feelings and forge new pathways. And they, along with an authentic sense of responsibility, can protect you from losing friends and loved ones and having people lose respect for you. Arrogance and false pride offer no benefits whatsoever.

for more on this:

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10 Zen Approaches to Summer for soft bipolar cyclothymia: 1. turn off the phone…..stop that compulsive multitasking. You don’t have to be available every minute for others you know. 2. be mindful of surroundings, sounds, birds, children playing: summer is a time to do things but also just watch things go by

10 Zen Approaches to Summer for soft bipolar cyclothymia:

1. turn off the phone…..stop that compulsive multitasking. You don’t have to be available every minute for others you know.
2. be mindful of surroundings, sounds, birds, children playing: summer is a time to do things but also just watch things go by
3. slow down, do less
4. continue eating healthy
5. choose activities you want to participate in
6. anger, panic, speeding tickets, spending, and rushing are a sign of too much or even hypomania. Slow down and do your blue light management. Watch out for compulsion to do things
7. increase your meditative and spiritual practices, not reduce them in summer
8. have some quiet and alone time
9. take time to ask others, “How is your day going”
10. listen to soft, calming music