Photo-therapy is a way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and some other cases by exposure to artificial light. A Seasonal Emotional Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a given time each year, usually in autumn or winter. During photo-therapy, you can sit or work near a device called a photo-therapy box. This box emits a bright light that simulates natural external light. It is believed that photo-therapy affects the chemicals in the brain associated with mood and sleep, which alleviates the symptoms of grief.
The use of the phototherapy box may also help treat other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. Phototherapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.
What is the benefit of phototherapy?
You may want to try phototherapy for a number of reasons:
- The doctor recommends it for seasonal affective disorder or for other conditions.
- Experience safe treatment which has few side effects.
- The desire to increase the effectiveness of antidepressants or mental health counseling (psychotherapy).
- The need to avoid antidepressants during pregnancy or during breastfeeding.
- You may be given a lower dose of an antidepressant.
Cases that use phototherapy for treatment
Phototherapy is used to treat many conditions, including:
- Seasonal Emotional Disorder.
- Types of depression that do not occur seasonally.
- jet lag.
- Sleep disorders.
- Adapt to the work schedule at night.
Phototherapy used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis differs from the type of phototherapy used in the above cases. Light treatment for skin disorders uses an ultraviolet light. This type of light should be filtered into phototherapy boxes used for seasonal emotional distress and other conditions, as it can damage the eyes and skin.
Risks of phototherapy
Phototherapy is generally safe. If side effects occur, they are usually light and short-lived. They may include:
- Eye strain.
- Irritability or excitement.
- Orgasm, hyperactivity, or irritability associated with bipolar disorder.
When side effects occur, they may disappear on their own within a few days of initiation of phototherapy. You may be able to manage the side effects by reducing treatment time, moving away from the lightbox, taking rest during long sessions, or changing the time from the day you use phototherapy. Talk to your doctor for advice if side effects are a problem.
When to be cautious?
It is best to be under the care of a health care professional while using the light box treatment. It is always best to talk to a doctor before you start a phototherapy, but talking to him is especially important if:
- You have a condition that makes the skin particularly sensitive to light.
- You are taking medications that increase sensitivity to sun exposure, such as some antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or some herbal supplements.
- You have an eye condition that makes your eyes vulnerable to light.
ultra violet rays
Optical therapy boxes should be designed to filter out harmful UV rays, but some of these boxes may not be fully filtered. UV can cause skin and eye damage. Look for a light therapy box that produces as little UV radiation as possible. If you have concerns about phototherapy and its effects on the skin, talk to your dermatologist.
Effectiveness and risks of tanning beds
Some people claim that the use of tanning beds helps relieve feelings of seasonal affective disorder, but this has not proved successful. Ultraviolet light from the tanning bed can damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Beware of bipolar disorder
Phototherapy may cause obsessive-compulsive disorder in some people with bipolar disorder, so you should seek advice from your doctor before you begin phototherapy. If you have any concerns about how light therapy affects your mood or thoughts, ask for help immediately.
How to prepare for light therapy
Although you do not need a prescription to buy a light therapy box, it is best to ask your doctor or mental health care provider if phototherapy is a good choice for you. Ask if you need to take any special precautions. Also discuss what types of phototherapy boxes meet your needs, so you get the most benefit possible and minimize potential side effects.
What to expect from phototherapy
In general, most people with seasonal affective disorder begin treatment with photosynthesis in early autumn, and when the weather is usually cloudy in many parts of the country. Treatment usually lasts until the spring, when the external light alone is sufficient to maintain a good mood and higher levels of energy.
If you experience depression in the fall and winter, you may notice symptoms during prolonged periods of cloudy or rainy weather during other seasons. You and your doctor can adjust light treatment based on timing and duration of symptoms. If you want to try photosynthetic treatment for non-seasonal depression or any other condition, talk to your doctor about how light therapy can be more effective.
During phototherapy sessions, you can sit or work near the light box. In order to be effective, the light from the light box must be directly reflected in the eyes. You can not get the same effect just by exposing the skin to light. While the eyes should be open, do not look directly into the light box, because bright light can hurt the eyes. Be sure to follow the doctor’s recommendations and manufacturer’s instructions.
Optical treatment requires time and follow-up, and you can place a light box on a desk or office at home or office. This way you can read, use a computer, write, watch TV, talk on the phone, or eat during photosynthesis. And adhere to the treatment schedule and do not overdo it.
Phototherapy may be ineffective for everyone, but you can take steps to get the most out of phototherapy and help with its success.