Light therapy for depression and anxiety is a good form of treatment and it won’t completely break your bank.
Light therapy for anxiety and depression is exactly what it sounds like, as it is a white light used to mimic the effects of sunlight.
It is commonly used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder among people who experience their depression and/or anxiety worsen during the winter months due to the lack of sunlight.
Phototherapy can be used to treat anxiety and depression, as well as sleep disorders and jet lag, any time of the year, as well.
The most common kind of solution for depression is also one of the most frustrating, being that high-grade pharmaceutical drugs filled with all kinds of chemical compounds that have the kind of warning labels and side effects that most people are terrified of using.
Medicine is supposed to help people, not hurt them, and unfortunately, that is exactly what so many prescription drugs do over the long term.
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How much light are you getting?
Light therapy can treat more than just winter depression, even though that is its main use.
The amount of light reaching your eyeball from interior lighting is far less than the amount from the real source.
As such, unless you are outside much of the day in the winter (in summer, there is so much light, most people get enough, even if they are indoors), you will be relying on electric light for your photons.
Does Light Therapy Works?
Symptoms of anxiety and depression worsen when there is a lack of sunlight, as it causes a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Phototherapy simply provides the same effects of sunlight, allowing you to maintain a healthy chemical balance in the brain.
As for using light therapy, you just have to sit in front of a SAD lamp and receive the benefits of the “sun”.
The only limitation with that is that you can not carry this lamp around with you.
SAD Lamps work amazing for when you’re at home or in the office but if you aren’t in those areas, its use is restricted.
For light therapy to work, the light will have to enter your eyes indirectly in order for your brain to receive the benefits.
This can be difficult to practice because you are not supposed to look directly at the SAD lamp, as it can damage your eyes.
Other than that, the effectiveness of light therapy for anxiety and depression comes down to three things:
Intensity: It’s recommended that you sit approximately 15-25 inches from your lightbox.
Duration: Light therapy is typically done in 15-30 minute sessions.
Timing: Most people find light therapy to be highly effective when used in the morning, and can time therapy to come at such time.
How Light Therapy Works
As for the question on how light therapy works exactly, scientists around the world are confident in the fact that exposure to specific spectrums of light increases the amount of serotonin produced in the brain.
Serotonin is a natural hormone and chemical in the brain responsible for giving feelings of happiness.
Thus, when you are able to stimulate the production of serotonin in the body you are able to dramatically improve your feelings, and fight back against depression.
Although the actual underlying science behind the mechanism of light therapy is still not completely understood, no one argues with the observed results.
Benefits of Light Therapy for Anxiety and Depression
- Light therapy can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression
- It has proven to help veterans struggling with a major depressive disorder
- Light therapy provides the same effects as an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication
- Light therapy is a natural alternative to prescription medications
- Light therapy provides the effects of natural sunlight even when indoors
- It provides sunlight in the dead of winter
- Light therapy regulates biological clock and maintains chemical balance in the brain
- Light therapy increases energy levels, and reduce the effects of jet lag
- Light therapy improves mood and mental alertness
- It results in less anxiety and decreased depression
Side effects involved with light therapy solutions
There are side effects when you go through a light therapy routine, but thankfully the side effects are nowhere near as devastating, dangerous, or deadly in the way that more traditional powerful pharmaceutical drugs are.
The most severe kind of side effect is getting dry skin or headaches caused by exposure to the amount of light you are exposed to, during the treatment sessions.
Other issues include:
- eyeballing irritation,
- sensitive skin,
- a nose that continues to run.
But compared to the alternatives, these effects are really not anything tough to deal with.