Plane travel & Bipolar Disorder
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Q:  Plane travel & Bipolar Disorder


Dear. Dr Phelps,

I have heard that flying/altitude( especially when one travels across time zones)  affects a bipolar person especially in the height of a manic period. Is there research that shows this? What do you know of this! 
Thank you.
Mell



Dear Mell -- 
To my knowledge, it's the time zones, not the altitude, that makes plane travel an issue.  From my website, on this topic: 

Travel crossing time zones creates automatic potential for sleep change: deprivation when traveling east, additional time when going west. Two studies report symptoms brought on by travel, with mania more common going east, and depression going west.Young, Jauhar  Major travel within the same time zone (e.g. my Oregon patient who became manic in Mexico) may be destabilizing due to stress alone.

Dr. Phelps


Published January, 2005
 

 

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