Light Therapy Depression Therapy or Treatment

Want to read up a little about light therapy depression treatment?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also referred to as SAD, is a mild form of depression that generally occurs during winter when there is very little sunlight and exposure to sunlight is extremely limited. Under these circumstances, it was felt that people prone to suffer from depression tend to get increasingly depressed, and ultimately experience mild-to-moderate depression.

Since the cause of this form of depression is known and is directly related to the availability of sunlight, it was felt that creating an artificial atmosphere that replaces natural sunlight might help ease the symptoms of depression in such people, and eventually help them to overcome depression altogether.

And while light therapy depression treatment has been found to be extremely helpful and successful in treating people experiencing SAD-related depression, it has been found to be equally effective in treating people with other forms of depression, too. In reality, humans enjoy the bright and warm feeling created by being out in the sun, and because light therapy depression treatment attempts to replicate this situation, that is probably the reason why it can be used to treat various forms of depression, too.

Research on Light Therapy Depression Treatment

Researchers working with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine found out, after going through twenty study cases, that light therapy was effective in treating various other forms of depression in addition to SAD.

Dr. Golden and his researchers had reviewed studies of people aged 18 to 65 with a diagnosed mood disorder. Participants were grouped into four categories: bright light for SAD, bright light for non-seasonal depression, dawn simulation (simulating early dawn with artificial light at lower levels) for SAD, and bright light with antidepressants for non-SAD.

In every category, participants’ moods improved, with greater improvement found with a combination of antidepressants and light therapy. “The findings [for light therapy] are as strong or as striking” as those for conventional medications used as treatments for depression, according to Dr. Golden.

Light Boxes for Depression Treatment

People going through depression often agree that being out in the sun everyday, even for just 20 to 30 minutes, makes them feel better instantly, and they begin to experience a sense of relief from depressive symptoms.

Bearing this in mind, light therapy depression treatment was formulated, where persons suffering from depression spend around ten or fifteen minutes (or sometimes longer) in front of a light box every day. This box emits light similar to sunlight, and also gives off ultraviolet rays just as sunlight does. Eventually, such persons can sit up to an hour and a half in front of the box, provided it helps them.

These light boxes are currently available at various portals on the internet as well as in the retail market, and can be purchased for USD 500 or less.

Regulation of Body Functions; Generation of Neurotransmitters

And there is another benefit of light therapy depression treatment, too. In persons suffering from depression, there is a certain imbalance created in the body due to lack of sleep and insomnia; sleep-wake cycles thus normally get greatly disrupted.

This particular balance is maintained by the body clock, which monitors the time of sleep, hormone generation, biological functioning of the body, and also body temperature. By going through light therapy, one is helping the body restore its natural balance and bring about a normal pattern to the sleep-wake cycle; this ultimately helps to regulate various body functions, including improving the quality of your sleep.

It has also been noticed that sunlight helps stimulate the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain; these compounds can elevate mood. Thus, light therapy depression treatment helps create a similar effect, and helps in the generation of these neurotransmitters. This then plays a part in improving the moods of depressed persons.

Conclusion

The ultimate aim of light therapy is to create an atmosphere similar to sunlight exposure, as well as to encourage affected persons to experience light and, in the process, overcome their depression symptoms.


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