Light Treatment Imparts Quick Alleviation for SAD

Worshiping the sun has been with us since the commencement of human life on earth. Light is a crucial source of energy and warmth and underpins our spiritual and emotional demands.

When daylight-savings time ceased on November. 1, most folks loved experiencing an additional hour to slumber, but for a great percentage of the population the altering of the clock wasn't a wanted event.

An approximated 25 million Americans observe substantial shifts in mood and demeanor as the times of year alter. Another 10 million are so severely struck that they discover it trying or inconceivable to keep up convention lifestyles.

Beset by weariness, lassitude, multiplied appetite, cravings for starches and sweets, weight gain, cultural detachment and feelings of clinical depression, these folks match the criteria for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

More than twenty years of objective research affirms the diagnosis of SAD – Bipolar or Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, with Seasonal Pattern, according to DSM-IV criteria. Those with more modest symptoms are said to have “the wintertime blues,” a.k.a. Subsyndromal SAD (S-SAD). Both conditions are induced by chemical alterations in the brain activated by more depleted light exposure.

Exposure to light a great deal more brilliant than normal interior light is the most efficient treatment for keeping symptoms at bay. The conclusion of daylight-saving time is a landmark for folks with SAD and S-SAD.

All of a sudden the sun sets early prior to a lot of people making it home from work. As the days carry on getting more truncated people will begin leaving for work in the darkness and driving home in the dark. Wintertime weather will keep folks indoors for a lot of the day, restraining their exposure to radiant sunshine.

An opinion poll on asked: “Do you incline to feel blue during dark wintertime days?” More than 76 pct of answerers said, “Yes, I am unquestionably in a nicer mood when the sun is shining” while less than 23 percent stated seasonal alterations commonly don't bear upon their humors.

It's been recognized scientifically that light is a leading synchronizer of the minds biological clock. Light deprivation in any shape can induce grave troubles for folks. Bad weather, under-illuminated interior environments or residing in regions that are perpetually cloud-covered are good exemplars. It's not a surprise to consider light as a pragmatic treatment for mood disorders. Research establishes that morning light therapy can indeed assist with depressive disorders.

People with SAD can incur quick alleviation – within three to five days – with fixtures specifically configured to bring forth light bright enough to invert the procedure. Bright light devices indicate a springtime sunrise to the brain with light 10 to 20 times more lustrous than interior room lighting.

With just one 15- to 30-minute sitting per day of 10,000 lux of white light, most folks discover meaningful improvement that permits them to conduct natural lives in the autumn and wintertime months. Patients should continue to employ bright light treatment at the least until symptoms amply resolve but could be able to abbreviate the length of day-to-day treatment when reaction takes place. Clinicians should personalize the dosage of light to proportion treatment.

Light can impart pleasure to patients and their clinicians as they ascertain how fast symptoms improve.

Resources for health professionals to discover more about bright light therapy include the work of 2 experts in the discipline:

Daniel F. Kripke, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Calif. San Diego was the innovator who purported and tested light therapy for non-seasonal depression. Today, more than twenty years afterwards, there are adequately regimented long-term reports to corroborate his prognostications.

Light is emerging as a broad-spectrum antidepressant with an effect equivalent to or more effective than medication. Check his internet site – – to read more.

Michael Terman, Ph.D., professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University directs the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and the Clinical Chronobiology Program at New York Psychiatric Institute.

Terman and co-workers just released a treatment manual for Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders. The manual incorporates light therapy, wake therapy (sleep loss) and sleep phase advance as useful non-pharmacologic antidepressants. To order the manual go to




“Under the care of Leo J. Borrell, M.D. since December 2001, I have seen a remarkable improvement in my mother’s condition. She is responding dramatically to the new regiment Dr. Borrell has prescribed”

- Beth Rose


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by Dr. Leo J. Borrell, featured in Assisted Living Consult for November/December 2006. A HealthCom Media Publication