Light therapy has been used effectively for the treatment of seasonal depression, bipolar disorder and other forms of depressions. In a recent study conducted on a group of women suffering from bipolar depression, it was observed that exposure to light was beneficial in the treatment of this condition. Light therapy has been considered to be very useful in the treatment of even the most severe forms of depression.
However, there are a host of safety issues that are associated with the use of light therapy therefore it is important to understand the mechanism of how light therapy works and the ideal dosage for the treatment of the condition. This article will provide relevant information about light therapy along with how it can be used for the treatment of depression.
In a study recently conducted in Canada, examining over 100 patients, it was observed that light therapy was as potent as treatment with fluoxetine (referred to as Prozac), in the treatment and management of depression. Further the study highlighted that light therapy was actually quicker in lowering depression and was associated with very few side-effects.
Unfortunately poor funding and bad study designs have been the prime problems of why light therapy has not become popular for the management of depression. Further, there are issues with excessive exposure of light to people with depression, which can lead to worsening of symptoms and can trigger mania.
How To Use Light Therapy For Depression?
Light therapy may be good to stimulate the mood, especially when taken in the right way, too much or inappropriate methods of taking light therapy can trigger mania or suicidal tendencies. There are several light therapy gadgets available in the market and you should opt for economical but certified options. However using these indoor devices is associated with higher risk of macular degeneration which can lead to blindness.
Alternatively you could try going out in the sun for about 30 minutes each day. Exposure to sunlight is crucial, but so is the timing and dosage. Too much exposure to the sun can trigger mania, especially in individuals with depression. Morning sun exposure is considered to be more likely to trigger mania compared to afternoon sun exposure. Ideally evening exposure to sunlight is the safest.
There is some research which suggests that light therapy works the best about eight hours after one’s body starts secreting melatonin, a hormone which is associated with sleep. This implies that exposure to sunlight during the afternoon is more effective than in morning or in evening.
While light therapy has been considered to be safe and effective in treating depression, please consult your physician before attempting indoor or outdoor light therapy.
There is adequate evidence of light therapy being beneficial for treatment of depression, but unfortunately there is no comprehensive methodology on how to use light therapy to treat the condition. Scientists are trying to understand on how light therapy works. Some suggest it is linked with the regulation of hormones by re-setting the circadian rhythms.