Ion Influx & Bipolar Disorder
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Q:  Ion Influx & Bipolar Disorder

I have noted that during the springtime I become more exacerbated and irritable. When the weather changes both my daughter and I seem  to be more effected, and also when we visit my parents and are near their ion air unit. Is it possible that the flux in ion's can trigger manic  episodes?


Dear Ms. C' -- 
One of my patients, who is very smart, has been pursuing this theory for years and remains convinced there is truth to it. She periodically sends me articles about ion flux and behavior change in other animals besides ourselves. To my knowledge, other than her guided literature searches, there is no working theory which focuses on ion fluxes as either the basis of or an exacerbating factor in bipolar disorder.  I just did another search of the more accessible psychiatric literature using search terms like ionized, ion, air with bipolar, mania (combinations thereof) and found nothing (not a perfect search by any matter of means). The shift in light levels and light timing in the spring, however, has long been thought to be a pro-manic factor.  I've even told some patients to buy a $3.50 eye mask (such as they give away on Quantas for those long flights to Australia) to prevent exposure to early morning light in the spring (though I've never seen any data on their effectiveness, they do seem to keep people from waking up so early). 

Dr. Phelps

July, 2005



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