In some countries of the world where lengths of days and nights fluctuate, some persons react and get affected. Some develop seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a continuing series of daily moods of depression.Light therapy is a way to treat seasonal affective disorder via exposure to artificial light. Seasonal affective disorders usually occur at certain times each year, usually in the fall or winter.The causes of SAD are still unclear, except for some. Experts believe that it is triggered when the internal clock of the patientís body goes out of sync with the present patterns of light.They might also have higher concentrations of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. it might also be triggered with body temperatures or maybe the genes for it, if ever. Click on happy light
Benefits of Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder
On one study of SAD patients undergoing treatment, about 80% of the cases were found to have clinical improvements when bright lights are administered at the optimum early hour. If the treatment is done later, the response rate goes down by 40%.Symptoms are usually similar with depression. They include less energy and inability to concentrate, loss of interest with work and other activities, sluggishness, increased appetite and weight gain, and increased daytime sleepiness.Symptoms go away after season changes, but they can improve much faster with this technique using light. Long walks in daylight hours, getting exercised on the way, or being socially active can make symptoms better.
How SAD Light Therapy Works?
The healing process works by exposing the patient to artificial daylight for at least 20 minutes daily. As per the National Institute of Mental Health, it is considered a non-chemical anti-depressant for people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).In certain countries when daylight hours decrease, some persons have their sleep-wake cycles (circadian rhythms) disrupted. This is a contributing factor to the depression on people with seasonal affective disorder.The process simply tricks the body that there is still light which keeps the patientís circadian rhythm stable. To be effective, the treatment session is best scheduled when the patient feels very lethargic. For most people, mornings are most ideal right after waking up. (Evening sessions might disrupt the sleep pattern.)
It also keeps the melatonin levels at bay thus reducing depression. (Melatonin increases when there is less daylight.) For first timers, beginning sessions can start at 15 minutes and to increase by five minutes every time. Depending on the patientís need, daily sessions of the therapy can go from 30 minutes to two hours.Light box devices used for the treatment generally have 2,500 lux to 10,000 lux. (Lux is the amount of light you receive from a source.) The light in an average living room in the evening is less than 400 lux. A bright sunny day is 100,000 lux. Devices with 10,000 lux need a 30-minute session.Some patients need a supplement of anti-depressant while on light therapy medication and some do not. Light therapy is best for pregnant or breast-feeding women and to those people who react badly to antidepressants.