How Does Light Therapy Work for Treating Depression and Anxiety?

Mental illnesses are relatively common in the United States. According to the NIMH, they affect one in every six adults.

Some of the most common ones include anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder.

Depression is another big one. Left untreated, it can easily rob you of your relationships—perhaps even more.

The good news is that there are several ways to treat the condition. Take light therapy, for example, it can be effective for treating depressive disorders with seasonal patterns.

What is it? How does light therapy work? Find out by reading the rest of the post!

What is Light Therapy? How Does Light Therapy Work for Treating Depression and Anxiety?

Light therapy, aka phototherapy, is a type of treatment in which you’re exposed to a bright, indoor light. Generally speaking, it’s used to treat seasonal affective disorder (a type of depression) but it can also be effective for other conditions.

For example, it can also help those with anxiety. In fact, research has shown that light therapy can reduce the amount of antidepressant medications that are needed for someone with anxiety or depression.

How Does Light Therapy Work?

Light therapy is meant to compensate for the lack of sunlight that’s believed to be responsible for seasonal affective disorder. Basically, it helps regulate our natural biorhythms by imitating natural sunlight.

Not only that, but it can also trigger the production of serotonin in the brain, which can boost our mood.

Potential Side Effects 

Light therapy is generally quite safe. As with all treatments, however, side effects are a possibility.

For example, the light can cause headaches in some individuals. In some cases, it can also cause sunburns, eye strain, nausea, and irritability.

Fortunately, it’s possible to minimize these side effects by adjusting the intensity and duration of the sessions. Eyedrops can also be used to help with eye strain.

Getting the Most Out of Light TherapyHow Does Light Therapy Work for Treating Depression and Anxiety?

For starters, it’s important that you get the right light box. If necessary, ask your doctor for recommendations. You want to make sure that it’s safe with the right kind of light.

Another thing is that you want to make sure that it’s positioned correctly. For the best results, you want the box to be at eye level or higher; it should also be at an angle to the right or left.

Last but not least, you want to be consistent. In other words, stick to a daily routine—that’ll help make it a success. Consider monitoring your symptoms if you have to take a couple of days off.

In some cases, light therapy may not be effective enough. If that’s the case, you may wish to see your doctor about additional treatment. You can also visit a naturopathic physician such as Dr. Karen Threlkel if you’re interested in natural remedies.

Understanding Light Therapy

Hopefully, that answers the question of “how does light therapy work.” The bottom line is—it can be effective for both depression and anxiety.

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