Report Calls for Treatment Improvements for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Bright white light therapy has been used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) for more than 20 years. Although it remains a mainstay of treatment, in the past few years researchers have investigated ways to improve and refine light therapy, reports the November 2008 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

According to the report, improvements are necessary for three reasons:

  • First, light therapy doesn't work for everyone. Studies have reported that 50 to 80 percent of patients achieve complete relief and that remission may depend upon carefully individualized timing of light exposure.
  • Second, dosing remains a major question. The recommendation for 30 minutes of daily exposure to 10,000 lux is based on average response to white light.
  • Third, side effects, while mild for many patients, may be more of a concern for others.

Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, notes that investigations are now under way to see if changing the timing or type of light therapy might improve response or reduce side effects.

Some areas of study:

  • Better timing. Researchers reported that remission from SAD was twice as likely if light therapy was precisely calibrated to melatonin rhythms--which may vary by several hours from one individual to the next.
  • Dawn simulation. In this variation, a preset light device turns on before a patient awakens. Light intensity increases gradually over a period of 90 minutes. Although studies so far have been small, they have also been promising.
  • Blue light. Studies have found that cells in the retina are particularly sensitive to blue light, suggesting that this wavelength may powerfully affect circadian rhythms. Researchers are investigating whether blue light might provide the same benefit as white light but with less exposure time.

For a supplementary video, go online to www.health.harvard.edu/137.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
TenCate FR Technology

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue