Monday, May 2, 2011

Light Therapy

A while back, a reader asked if there really are "happy lights" that I mentioned in an earlier post.

The answer is: yes.

This weekend, we got together for a barbecue with old friends from medical school.  My husband asked one of them, a psychiatry resident, what he would recommend for his depression, most likely driven by the seasonal depressive disorder (SAD) caused by living here (the Northwest) during the winter months.

"Wellbutrin?" my husband asked.

"No," the resident said, "get a blue light first - they have them at Costco."

I looked them up - Philips goLITE BLU Energy Lights - they get pretty good reviews from consumers.

Here is a good article in the NY Times about the lights and their potential in alleviating effects of depression: Light Therapy for Depression.

I was quite happy to have a solution other than medication.  Then the psychiatrist said, "But, don't put it right in front of you, or sit too close to it - it can induce mania."

I guess there's a downside to everything - except the sun, that is.  It's amazing how important sunshine is.


Anonymous said...

What a double-edged sword! But interesting to know exactly what the "happy light" is.

Britt-Marie said...

I will definitely remember this in case we move somewhere with real winters (I think we're good for now in SoCal). You always find these great articles. Thanks for sharing them.