Use of “Lights” for Bipolar Depression

Dorothy Sit*, Sarah Haigh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: In this review, we will review the background and diagnosis of bipolar disorder (BD); describe the efficacy data and potential circadian and neural mechanisms underlying the effects of bright light for bipolar depression; and discuss the implementation of light therapy in clinical practice. Recent Findings: To date, morning bright light is the most widely tested form of light therapy for all mood disorders. Clinical trial reports suggest that midday or morning bright light treatment and novel chronotherapeutic interventions are effective for bipolar depression. Mechanisms of response may relate to effects on the circadian system and other changes in neural functioning. Summary: Using bright light to manage depressive symptoms in BD is reasonable but also requires concurrent antimanic treatment and careful clinical monitoring for response, safety, and mood polarity switch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronotherapeutics
  • Clinical trials
  • Depression
  • Light therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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