Light Therapy

Is It a Real Depression Treatment Option?

Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is a new form of therapy that uses daylight to combat feelings of depression and anxiety. Although many people doubt the benefits of phototherapy, it’s fairly well established as an effective psychiatric treatment. Light therapy can be used to treat conditions such as:

Light therapy can be undertaken by a patient or with the help of a therapist. Here’s a look at the benefits of this very specialized type of therapy.

Phototherapy’s Methods and Advantages

Light therapy is based on biology and psychotherapy. The idea is that melatonin, one of the chemicals that produces feelings of depression and fatigue in humans, can be controlled by the use of exposure to sunlight. Melatonin levels can rise during cold seasons, during which sunlight is not as readily available, creating feelings of depression in many people. Some patients have disorders that lead to increased levels of this chemical.

Treatment with light therapy has been shown to be very effective for certain types of depression, fatigue, and anxiety. In most situations, a therapist will work with the patient to use special light lamps designed to simulate sunlight. Some therapists take patients out into natural sunlight or instruct the patient to purchase their own specialized lamp for at-home use.

As phototherapy has become more popular, many people have purchased light therapy lamps online for office or home use. Self-diagnosis can be problematic, so if you’re considering a light therapy device, be sure to contact a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist if you don’t notice any improvement in your mood or if you believe that your condition is getting worse.

The Costs of Light Therapy

A light therapy device can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000. This is due to the different types of technology used by lamps and their various usages; light therapy devices might contain LEDs, lasers, or more traditional light bulbs. Because the needs of patients vary so greatly, it’s best to visit a professional before self-administering light therapy in order to avoid wasting money or buying a substandard product. Many doctors and psychiatrists will recommend a specific amount of exposure to certain types of lights. This prescription can be valuable in quickly and easily treating disorders, especially seasonal affective disorder.

Finding a Doctor for Phototherapy

Many people with depression avoid speaking with a doctor or therapist, especially if they have anxiety or a social disorder. However, doing so is a very helpful step and can speed up the treatment of these conditions. Licensed therapists can be found through the American Psychotherapy Organization (APO).

It’s important to carefully research any light therapy lamps online before you buy. The rise in cases of seasonal affective disorder has also led to a heightened demand for these products, and some online offerings don’t use the correct type of light or technology for effective patient treatment. Nevertheless, light therapy can be a relatively low cost, extremely effective form of treatment for a number of disorders. If you are interested in phototherapy of any kind, you should speak with a qualified therapist. Try to find a professional who has a history of working with depression or light therapy. Light therapy has a long history in the medical community, and it’s a very helpful form of treatment; however, knowing the facts about phototherapy and the devices used for treatment can be very helpful.


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