Info on How You Can Beat Your Seasonal or Non-Seasonal Depression with Light
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Bright Light Therapy.
If you wonder how you can beat your depression I've stated below several studies that show evidence that bright light indeed can help you.
Then there's information on how to use light therapy and when.
From a recent study we learn how you can beat your seasonal or non-seasonal depression / major depression with bright light. The research showed that treating people, who suffer from non-seasonal depression, with a daily dose of bright light, is effective!
Combination of Bright Light and Antidepressant Drug.
Combining the light therapy with a medicine such a Fluoxetine - may be the name Prozac sounds more familiar to you - influences chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms, gives best results.
Hopefully your condition is as such that you can do without medicines and just use the light box.
For non-seasonal depression you may also read: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Unipolar Depression or just Major Depression.
In the trial, patients were exposed every day for half an hour to bright white light emitted from a 10,000 Lux light device. Here's more on 10,000 Lux devices.
These light treatments were done in the early morning right after the patients got up and did some kind of activity as there is no need to look at the light as long as the light comes to your eyes from the side.
What bright light also does, is increasing the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin. And that's what antidepressants do also.
Serotonin - a chemical - transmits signals in the brain.
Researchers emphasize that light therapy can be considered as a valued additional treatment for people with non-seasonal depression or major depression (MDD).
No connection between depression and low level vitamin D?
Research showed low levels of vitamin D in people suffering from depression.
It is also known that the vitamin influences brain development and its function. However, other research did not indicate that the vitamin reduces the symptoms of depression when patients got extra vitamin D.
Bright light therapy for elderly with major depression.
Another bright light trial held with elderly patients suffering from major depression disorder (MDD) made clear that bright light therapy improved mood continually, increased the so-called upslope melatonin (hormone) level gradient and enhanced sleep efficiency.
The trial was done with bright light boxes of about 7,500 Lux.
Bright light therapy for different types of depression.
Another indication that bright light therapy might be good to apply when suffering from non-seasonal depression, comes from a study.
Researchers conclude that bright light therapy "could be a promising treatment for depression, regardless of the melancholic or atypical character of the depressive symptoms".
The study was done with using 5,000 - 10,000 Lux light sources.
Besides the kind of illness you read above, bright light therapy may also have a positive influence on people with bipolar disorder, chronic pain or even dementia.
Bright light therapy may ease your life.
No matter what kind of depression you may have, when you use bright light therapy, mind that the light therapy doesn't make you get rid of the depressive disorder completely.
But it can give you energy, improve your mood and that way ease your life quite a bit.
Some people already may see improvements within a couple of days. For others it may take a bit longer.
Maybe you also want to read the blog of Dr Rosenthal, the first doctor who applied light therapy as a treatment of SAD. Here's his blog.
Lux, the unit of illuminance.Lux is the metric unit of illuminance - intensity of light -, being the number of lumens per square meter.
So, 1 lux is 1 lumen per square meter, indicated as lm/m2.
You can also measure in footcandles, where 1 footcandle is 1 lumen per square foot. Then, 100 lux is about 9 footcandles (100 lux / 10.76 )
Now imagine a bright lighted morning - at say 7 A.M. - in the summer. That light is assumed to be equal to a 10,000 lux light.
What is a Full Spectrum Light.
Sometimes you see the words "full spectrum" in information about light.
Well, it doesn't has a technical meaning. With these words the writer wants you to know that it is about light that you can consider as being equal to sunlight or natural light.
Blue-Enriched White Light.
Although further investigation is needed, researchers conclude that low-intensity blue-enriched white light - say 750 lux - has in light therapy same effect as high-intensity standard bright light of say 10,000 lux.
That's why certain light therapy devices emit that blue-enriched white light. See some lights here that are blue-enriched, such as the Naturebright Sun Touch Plus.
Another possible use of blue light:
It happens that after having a debilitating stroke, patients suffer from depression.
Now we learn from a recent study that having stroke patients in a rehabilitation facility with blue light, these patients suffer less from depression than those patients not exposed to blue light.
I'm looking forward to further research and confirmation about this positive effect of blue light.
How To Use Light Therapy.
Position towards the light.
Best position towards the light box is that you're not too far from it. Some people keep the distance from the light the same as the distance you are from your computer screen.
Usually it is recommended that your face is at approximatively 12 to 24 inches from the light during 30 minutes, which is usual for a 10,000 lux light box. Mind that 30 minutes is an average. Many people feel comfortable with it, but may need just 15 minutes or other may need an hour. Do follow the instructions of light device manual or conssult your doctor.
Regarding the distance, there are also people who have more benefit by a bit greater distance from the light, but for a longer duration.
Also using the light box in the afternoon seems the solution for some people. It can be quite personal what your experiences are.
Activities and open eyes during light therapy.
Of course, you need to keep your eyes open as such a light therapy is mainly meant for the eyes.
During a session a lot of people prefer doing something such as eating, reading, watching TV, using a computer. Have the light a bit left or right from your head, so you won't look into it directly.
When To Use Light Therapy.
Feeling very unmotivated, lacking in energy, down mood, can't concentrate, lack of interest, tearfulness?
Or may be depression is interfering with your function, in your work or in your relationship.
First of all, consult your doctor if it is a good idea to have light therapy in your situation.
As you could read here earlier, studies show that you can use light therapy for seasonal affective disorder as well as major depression.
A lot of people benefit from light therapy when done in the morning, say just after awakening. It is important to do that every morning, so make it daily routine.
But again, as said earlier, some people benefit more from the light by using it in the afternoon or evening.
Sleeplessness, Delayed or Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder, Jet Lag, Adjusting to a Nighttime Work Schedule and Dementia.
Not only for depression, but you can use light therapy also when suffering from sleeplessness, delayed or advanced sleep phase disorder and jet lag.
Advanced sleep phase disorder means falling asleep much earlier than normal. Light session should be done in the evening.
In case of jet lag, you can use critically timed light sessions.
An example of a wearable light therapy device.
Our internal body clock is believed to be of great influence on certain body processes and disorders.
Seen in that perspective, a light-oriented development that came to the market recently, are the Re-Timer glasses.
An ultraviolet-free green light shines into the wearer's eyes to help adjust the body clock to sleep routines.
Here's more about the Re-Timer glasses.
Another use of light therapy might be to fight fatigue and depression in people suffering from Mesothelioma.
Read about light therapy may ease fatigue, depression in Mesothelioma patients.
What Also Helps Against Depression
Besides natural sunlight, sunlight simulation by light therapy, antidepressant medication, there's more what also seems to help when being depressive, is:
- Being active.
Being active, doing something, exercise, walk... It doesn't matter what, as long as you're active.
If you shrink from a task or difficulty you might split a task up in small ones. Doing small things at a time is often easier to do.
Setting priorities is also helpful.
- Getting social.
Another thing you can do, or already do, is getting social, spend time with other people.
- Educate yourself.
It also helps if you educate yourself about depression.
How about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling.
Here's more about depression from the National Institute of Mental Health.