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Light Therapy for Mental Health

Multiple factors can trigger anxiety in a person, and most of the time, it comes
from past traumas. Light therapy may help you manage anxiety symptoms.

Expanded summary of studies on the effectiveness of light therapy for mental health:

Study Source Condition Treated Improvement Rate Treatment Details
Harvard Health Blog
Seasonal and Nonseasonal Depression
40% to 60% of people improved
Effectiveness of light therapy is approximately the same as antidepressant medications or cognitive behavioral therapy. Combining light therapy with medications tends to help even more.
American Journal of Psychiatry
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Nonseasonal Depression
Significant effect sizes for SAD and nonseasonal depression
Meta-analysis showed significant reduction in depression symptom severity following bright light therapy for SAD and nonseasonal depression.
PubMed (Non-seasonal Depression Meta-analysis)
Non-seasonal Depression
Significant mild to moderate effect
Light therapy significantly more effective than comparative treatments in reducing depressive symptoms.
PubMed (SAD Meta-analysis)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Standardized mean difference of -0.37 for depression ratings; Risk ratio of 1.42 for response to treatment
BLT superior over placebo. Effective treatment for SAD, but studies show moderate heterogeneity and a moderate-to-high risk of bias.

Mechanism of Action

Light therapy works by mimicking natural sunlight, which influences the body's circadian rhythms and suppresses the natural release of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

This can help reset the body's internal clock and improve mood and sleep patterns.

Rapid Results

Light Therapy
1 Week
4-8 Weeks

Patients often report improvements within a week of starting light therapy, which is significantly faster than many antidepressant medications that can take several weeks to show effects.