An international association is recommending use of a Norwegian treatment for patients with a bipolar disorder that’s deceptively simple: those using glasses with orange lenses that block out blue light became much better.
“It didn’t take longer than a few minutes after putting on the glasses that I felt the whole world calmed down,” one patient, Tuva Maria Matinussen, told state broadcaster NRK. She’s suffered from manic-depressive periods for several years, alternating between feeling “down in the dark” and then intensely hyperactive. The glasses “toned down the mania,” she said, convinced the glasses and light treatment worked.
Research agreed and now the international association for bipolar disorders, ISBD, is recommending the treatment after a large research group confirmed its effects. “Everything pointed in the same direction, it was very uplifting,” Hårvard Kallestad, who specializes in psychology at St Olav Hospital in Trondheim. He’s one of 27 researchers from various countries that’s behind the work carried out in Norway.
Treatment with both light and darkness had an effect on patients’ daily rhythm and proved to be effective and simple with rapid results. Best of all, Kallestad noted, it’s free of any medication. “Many think this sounds strange, almost too good to be true,” Kallestad told NRK, “but we see that this works for many people.”
Dr Tone Elise Gjøtterud Henriksen also conducted a study in 2016 using orange glasses to block out parts of the color spectrum of light. Patients’ so-called “blue periods” became shorter and milder. “On a group level. we saw that the treatment took effect after three days, very quickly compared to other studies involving medicinal treatments,” Henriksen told NRK. She’s encouraged by the study results and the new international attention.