light therapy for depression

simply stephen / February 26, 2010

Using light therapy for depression is a proven method of treatment, especially for those that suffer the winter blues. Also known as seasonal affective disorder or sad, a winter depression can be extremely debilitating.

Light therapy is not just for the treatment of (sad) seasonal affective disorder, it can offer relief for many forms of depression during pregnancy and even fatigue or insomnia. Intense light is used for skin and acne issues, healing of the skin, sleep issues and a variety of medical concerns. Some other applications:

  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • poor or irregular sleep
  • irritability
  • social withdrawal

how does light therapy help depression?

While the sun helps warm you up and keeps you happy, it also provides various nutrients including a large dose of vitamin D. But being happy and having vitamins isn’t the only thing.

Light provides a few extras. It regulates the body clock or circadian rhythm, which is the cycle the body and all lifeforms use to energize for a day. When sunlight is gone under cloud cover or because of shorter days this rhythm is altered.

Light also helps regulate the production of hormones serotonin and melatonin, which is produced from serotonin and induces sleep. If these neurotransmitters are not produced effectively sleep patterns and mood are affected.

how do I use light therapy for depression?

Treatment is very simple.

15 to 30 minutes every day, first thing in the morning using a light therapy lamp.

This must be a regular thing. It needs to be in the morning to induce the hormones and let the body know it is a bright sunny start of a great day. When coupled with a stronger diet and exercise it is particularly effective.

This winter, I used light therapy and have seldom felt the blues (no more than a couple hours in small doses). This was an amazing result for me, since I have struggle with depression, especially in the winter since I was a young child. I even had a report card one spring that asked if the sunny weather improved my disposition – apparently it does!

would I recommend light therapy?


Consult with your doctor or a specialist to find out all the benefits and potential issues. There are several lights that you can use and some are quite expensive. They range from $50 to $400 and are well worth the money spent.

The way I look at it is any day (of work, school or life) missed or spent suffering is worth correcting or at least alleviating in some way. I use this almost every day in the fall and winter and it helps me cope with life.

Don’t you deserve that!

Check out light therapy for an excellent selection of lamps and products.

1 thought on “light therapy for depression

  1. Pingback: depression revisited

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