The use of therapy light may not be for everyone, but it offers many benefits for people who have seasonal affective disorder and do not wish to take any form of traditional antidepressants. One of the main reasons people do not want to take medication is because of the side effects, or they have not worked.
Side effects with therapy light are very rare, but can still happen. Some of the side effects of therapy light can be eyestrain or headaches, agitation, nausea, inability to sleep at night, irritability, extreme forms of fatigue, a dry mouth, or sleep disruptions. The advantage is that side effects are easily controlled by reducing the treatment time, moving a further distance from the light box, or changing the time when the treatments are being used.
Other people simply choose therapy light because they want another choice, especially if they are pregnant or they lack insurance to cover the traditional mental health services. Even though therapy light is useful for depression, it is 80% better if used with cognitive-behavior therapy, or CBT. Other disorders that are being researched with therapy light in additional to seasonal affective disorder is obsessive-compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, postpartum depression, or forms of insomnia.
Therapy light, even though it has become extremely popular with most people, is not for just everyone. Individuals whose skin is light sensitive, who takes medication that reacts with sunlight, or have an eye condition that makes their eyes vulnerable to light damage cannot use therapy light. Consulting the family doctor before using it will prevent any harm and increase its effectiveness.
Therapy light products can be purchased over the counter, after the family has been notified of its usage. Once home or at the office, the light from the light box has to enter directly into the eyes for it to work properly–intensity, duration, and timing all work together at this point–not by exposure to the skin.
The key issue is to NOT look directly into the light, or damage may occur to the eye. Special bulbs in the light box are specifically covered with plastic screen, which blocks out UV rays which causes skin problems and cataracts.
In order for therapy light to work properly, the treatments need to be consistent and the time to do it. Many individuals begin the treatments but do not stay with them, giving them up because they do not have the time or the desire to do it. But many successful people have the light therapy box beside them when working on their computer, when they are writing or watching television, with some being worn as visors.
Light therapy needs to be practiced early in the mornings, as the treatments need to match the person’s biological rhythms. Depression may stand in the way for this depression treatment, especially that early in the morning, as depression brings about a lethargic feeling. But with a professional’s care, a schedule can be worked out.