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Light Therapy for Depressions

Abstract: Light therapy is particularly used with patients suffering from seasonal depressions.

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Light Therapy for Depressions

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 31 Jul 2008.

What is light therapy for depressions? For what kind of depressions are light therapy used?

Answer:

Many people suffering from depression experience that their symptoms are seasonally bound. Usually depressive phases are most common during the "dark" time of the year.

There is a special type of depression called "seasonal depression" which follows exactly such a phased development. Many patients have already discovered that sunlight can be relieving and often travel to sunny locations for long vacations. This is unfortunately not always possible...

An obviously effective therapy, for this special group of patients, has therefore been light therapy. Special light sources are used with a particularly high intensity (up to 10000 watt). The light treatment is used daily for approx. 30-40 minutes, whereby the patient sits in front of the light source. The light activates the serotonin production in the brain, which helps in relieving the depressive symptoms.

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