Light therapy for Depression - The Flip Side
With the increase in the number of people suffering from psychological ailments such as depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the medical community have been actively searching for better options to treat patients. Through decades of research, they have finally found and proven the effectiveness of light therapy on patients suffering from SAD and depression. Research has shown that light therapy for SAD treats patients suffering from the winter blues in 1-2 weeks, as compared to conventional medicine intake, which can take up to 8 weeks.
However, every story has another side to it. Light therapy for SAD may be able to relieve symptoms, but it has also brought about a myriad of side-effects when applied to a particular group of patients. In addition, there are several restrictions that makes light therapy for SAD less viable. Thus, it is necessary for people to understand the risks involved before allowing them to be treated using this technique.
Restrictions and side effects
Â· Unpredictable results - Varying reactions to this form of treatment means that professional evaluation before application is very important. For some individual, they are rewarded with better moods throughout the winter months, and improved quality of life due to this form of treatment. However, there are cases where the patient's eyes are damaged because of incorrect usage, and even worsening conditions.
Â· Time - Even though treatment typically takes about 30 minutes using a 10,000 lux lamp, there are patients that are unable to take the relatively high intensity from the lamp. As such, these patients will have to make do with treatment under a 2,500 lux light therapy lamp, prolonging each session to about 2 hours.
Â· Maniac Episodes - Patients with bipolar disorder may suffer from these episodes when exposed to light therapy for SAD. There have been many reports that patients went into mild episodes of mania after undergoing light therapy for SAD. In less severe cases, patients may feel unnaturally "high" after the treatment.
Â· Corneal damage - People have also reported suffering from blurred vision or even distorted vision after treatment, because of unsafe practices when self-administering this form of treatment. Patients may have stared for prolonged periods of time into the light therapy lamp, thus causing problems to the patient's eyesight.