Bright light therapy may benefit depression

“I include this article for emphasis that this type of treatment is not used enough. Also the Cleveland Clinic describes the details of the type to use and for how long.” Bill Chesnut, MD

 Let there be light! Bright light therapy may benefit depression — and not just the seasonal variety. Cleveland Clinic Wellness newsletter February 24, 2016
There’s a relationship, it seems, between outer light and inner light. Step outside on a sunny day, and you can practically feel your mood meter rising a few points. And while depression doesn’t lift so easily, it may respond to light. Light therapy with specialized lamps is standard treatment for seasonal depression (a.k.a. seasonal affective disorder). A new study shows that it may help chronic, year-round depression, too, possibly by affecting the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. In one study, combining light therapy with antidepressant medication was shown to be more effective than either treatment alone. If you have depression, talk with your mental health professional about adding light therapy to your treatment plan. ADVISORY: If you have been diagnosed with bipolar depression, you must be sure to check with your doctor before you use a light box. You’ll want to look for a light box that offers 10,000 lux and then schedule a time to sit nearby for about 30 minutes a day, ideally at sunrise. Be sure you’re getting regular exercise, which has also been shown to ease depression. The more mood boosters, the merrier…literally!