light box

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lmf64, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    My son typically begins cycling late October / early November. A couple of years ago psychiatrist and I had discussed using a light box during the lower light season. But at that time I wasn't in a place to get him one. Last year we got the script, but couldn't get it filled here in town. This year, I have a new script and at this time am waiting for a call back from difficult child social worker to arrange for transportation out of town an hour for 15 minutes spent doing business there.
    So my question is, has anyone used a light box with your difficult child? I'm hoping to see improved/less cycling this winter. Is that what you saw?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I have never used a light box with my kids. My understanding is that light boxes help mainly with depression, not necessarily with cycling. I also understand you can order them online if you can't arrange to buy them in a store.
  3. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    You may find some helpful information at this website by Dr. Phelps. It was just revised 7/09 so should be very current. He discusses the use of light boxes as well as the effect of various kinds of light (and darkness) to help manage cycling. It's important to use the right kind of light if you're going to try this and one option he discusses is using a dawn simulator as an alternative to using a light box.
  4. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I also thought that light box therapy only helped with the depressive side of things and I think I read in The Bipolar Child where in some instances it could cause mania but I have no first hand experience so I am looking forward to learning from what others say in reply.

    Good Luck
  5. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    Thank you ladies. The cycling we see is more to depression during the winter months. He is more volatile during the winter months. We watched him for a few years before even saying yes there is a pattern here, what can we do to prevent it. Thanks for the link ris, I'll check it out.
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Our whole family used one up Idaho. We lived up near the Canadian border and got very little daylight and sunlight in the winter.
    My husband suffered from SAD.
    We had the one that was huge! It is important when you use it so it doesn't trigger mania.
    We found the mornings the best. While we ate breakfast.
    There is a whole system for figuring it out. SOme people are better early afternoon, early morning etc....
    I had a really good book on it. If you look up light therapy and SAD there is a ton of info.
    You need to apply it with the Bipolar aspect as well though. We never did it any time after 8 am for K or me.
    We did it for us only because we had no sunlight for days on end. SOmetimes weeks.
    Our depression manifested in agitation and restlessness with wanting to stay inside.
    So depression looks different for a lot of people.
    husband is classic depression.

    Ours was from-
    The doctors up there see a lot more of those things so they were well versed in those kinds of treatments.
    Down here in AZ they would think I was crazy!!!
    Obviously the light box is now put away. LOL
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One of our therapists recommended it for difficult child but when we talked to the psychiatrist he said no because of how it can trigger mania (our difficult child is easily triggered into mania).
  8. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    toto, yes that's exactly why we're going the way we're going. We live in MN and from about now until May we get so few days of sun and those days are so short. I will keep in mind not doing it later in the day. He has only once went truely manic, when we tried Concerta. He was 7 and didn't sleep for three days after one dose.
  9. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Can the light box trigger mania in people who don't have bipolar?

    My daughter is at college in way the hell snow area and it's awful so I am thinking of getting her a light box and getting one for me as well because I have SAD and I think she does too. We don't have BiPolar (BP).
  10. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    Slight change in plans. Insurance won't pay for one unless it's been trialed and proven to work, but of course if I've paid for it, they won't reimburse. So, we tried to find some place to rent one from to trial. Noone around here rents them.
    After doing some thinking, I remembered that case manager at school has one in her office. So we are working on getting it set up for him to use that one for a trial period, with the school communicating with psychiatrist so she can write the letter to get the approval for purchase from insurance. Then we run into the well when. He gets picked up at home and goes directly from here to community exploration/volunteer work (for now until he's 16) and doesn't actually get to school until 11:30. We set his schedule up this way so he has fewer transitions through the day.

    I've never heard of a person who doesn't have bipolar being made manic through the use of a light box, but I hadn't heard of a bipolar sufferer being sent over the edge because of using one either.
  11. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Don't mean to pester you but did you have a chance to review Dr. Phelps' summary of the research in this area? Here's the link again.

    I ask because he has other suggestions besides using a light box that may be more affordable and easier to try than a light box and have some solid evidence to support their use with people with Bipolar. One is as simple as ensuring you sleep in total darkness. Another is to take steps to manage your light exposure in the evening before bed.
  12. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    We have black out shades here in AZ. Because we have too much light. We have always had K on a very strict sleep and wake pattern and it has worked for us.
    In Idaho when the days became longer we did like RLS said and covered the windows for K.
  13. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    I'm sorry I thought I had responded earlier, ris. I checked it out and sent the link to psychiatrist. We discussed it and most of the things he suggests about dark at night is already being done. We are checking into getting him some blueblocking lenses to wear while playing video games/watching tv/computer after 9 pm, but other than that part we have been doing forever. Heck his bedroom window has black micro suede curtains that allow absolutely no light in day or night.
    I'm not saying that what he says doesn't have merit, just that we believe that difficult child needs the light therapy to keep him on a even keel during the winter/low light months.
    Change of plans again. We were shot down on having difficult child use the light in the case managers office to trial it. But, difficult child's mhsw got the go ahead to buy one for him using their flex funds. We are currently deciding between 3 different models.
  14. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    No experience with difficult child using a light box, but i myself have one that I have used many years during late fall/winter. It worked wonders!!! One thing to remember is what time of day you use it. Evenings/late nights are not good. They stimulate being awake. Not good if a kidlet tends to cycle or have manic cycles. Early morning is best.

    I haven't needed to use my light for a few winters but I know it made a huge difference for me!
  15. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    No problem - I just wasn't clear you had looked at the ideas he suggested many of which are pretty low cost. I thought they might be helpful since it sounded like getting the light box was going to be tough. Glad to hear you have a source for funds. Hope it really helps once it's up and running.
  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Going back thirty years ago, the Scandinavian countries and the parts of the (then) Soviet Union near the Arctic Circle routinely used these in nurseries and daycare centers.

    They were not only to compensate for the lack of natural sunlight and it's emotional effects, but to prevent rickets in children who were not getting enough sunlight to manufacture enough Vit. D

    husband used a light box on base in Germany. I tried it a couple of times and it wound me up so tight it wasn't funny.

    I still go bonkers in the Fall as the days get shorter, but apparently light boxes are not my thing.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    What kind of light bulbs does a light box have/use?

    What makes it different from say a tanning bed or a home light?

    I swear - after living in Ohio all of my life - I am the only person I know (or anyone else knows for that matter) that LIVES for rainy over cast and dark early days. I hate 350 stinking days of flippin sunshine.

    I know - just trade me houses. ;)
  18. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    The blue wavelengths of light are the ones that help SAD. The lights themselves emit full spectrums of light. Your light at home is based on yellow or some of the new ones look blue (you know the really expensive ones that last like 1/2 as long but supposedly emit more natural daylight light.)