Study: Winter light therapy helps with non-seasonal depression

Study: Winter light therapy helps with non-seasonal depression

Light therapy helps with non-seasonal depression
Daily light therapy in the winter months also helps patients with major depression regardless of the season. The results of a recent study show that light therapy was even superior to standard drug therapy.

The effectiveness of light therapy has so far been primarily investigated for seasonally dependent mood disorders (SAD). Here she achieved response rates of 60-90% in studies with consistent implementation. The effect is mainly attributed to the synchronization of the day-night rhythm, which also affects patients with major depression.

This prompted the Vancouver study authors to investigate the effectiveness in this indication as well. The 122 study participants suffered from moderate to severe depression with at least 20 points on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (Ham-D). The patients were randomized into two groups: one group was treated with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine, the other with placebo. In addition, the participants were again randomized to a daily light therapy or a pseudo treatment with an ion emitter that emitted only one beep. Patients should continue therapy for 30 minutes each morning after getting up.

Fluoxetine (20 mg / day) had only a weak effect in the course of therapy. The effect of light therapy was significantly stronger, with which a total of 50% (without SSRI) and 75.9% (with SSRI) of the patients achieved a complete remission. With placebo, this was only the case for 33.3 percent and 29.0 percent. You can find the study here.

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Video: Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD