Will Light Therapy Help Beat My Blues?

Daily Mail (London), December 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

Will Light Therapy Help Beat My Blues?


Byline: Martin Scurr

WHAT do you think of these lights and lightboxes for seasonal affective disorder? I am 83, a depressive and take Seroxat tablets (30mg once daily) but still don't feel all that happy. I'd be willing to buy a lightbox or sunshine lamp but don't know if they are worth the money, at around [pounds sterling]70 a go? Hilda Cameron, Maidstone, Kent..

LIGHT therapy is often used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterised by tiredness, low mood, irritability, anxiety, and a tendency to sleep longer.

The symptoms start during the autumn and winter months, and are said to be due to the lack of light as a result of the shorter days possibly because the reduced exposure to light causes problems with the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood.

Some say the condition improves by spending a week or two every winter closer to the equator, though I have never been convinced.

If any of my patients have had the luxury of a sunny winter holiday, I suspect that any improvement is more to do with the change of scene and the boost that a holiday can provide.

However, the studies do show that light therapy using light at an intensity at least ten times brighter than normal light bulbs does appear to bring relief in some cases, and the brighter the light, the better the response.

Although not available on the NHS (because of lack of an evidence base), you can buy light boxes, light 'baseball' caps and even dawn simulators. The latter are alarm-clock activated lights which mimic sunrise and wake the user gradually.

If you use light therapy, it's been found that exposure in the morning works better for most people, and at least 30 minutes of exposure is needed to gain any benefit.

Don't be fooled into thinking visiting a tanning salon will give the same benefit these use ultra-violet rays which increase the risk of skin cancer (the light boxes used for SAD are designed to filter out these harmful rays).

However, I am not sure that this will help your depression. While there is some evidence that light therapy works for SAD, the evidence for non-seasonal depression ie a depressive illness that occurs all the year round is even less convincing. So in your case, it may be a waste of time and money.

You're already taking a good anti-depressant medicine and I am sorry you do not feel happier.

You cannot conclude that Seroxat has failed until you've been taking the full prescribed dose for at least six weeks. Some would argue that the level should be as high as 60mg and you should discuss your current prescription with your doctor.

Whatever you do, do not spend money on a lightbox. Instead, walk for an hour every morning, if you are able, as this does provide sufficient light exposure even on overcast winter days to be helpful for those with SAD. It's also free, and may well help you, even if your mood disorder is not of the seasonal type.

I SUFFER with chronic acid reflux which was being controlled quite nicely with omeprazole that was until all the recent news stories about it causing brittle bone disease by not allowing calcium to be absorbed by the body. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Will Light Therapy Help Beat My Blues?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.