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What Do I Need to Know About Bright Light Exposure?

Bright light exposure is effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder and other forms of depression. Learn more about bright light therapy.

Bright light exposure is an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder and other forms of depression. Learn more about bright light therapy.

Gold Standard for Treating Depression (part 19)

Many people have heard that sunlight and light boxes can help depression, but few understand why. Like exercise, bright light exposure has an impact on regulating certain neurochemicals that affect mood. This helps because bright light enters the eye and strikes the retina. This activates a nerve pathway that then goes to the hypothalamus- a brain structure that regulates mood, sleep, appetite and even sex drive. This technical explanation explains why it's imperative that you get a daily dose of bright light in order to manage depression.

You can talk with your doctor about light boxes, or if you live in a year-round bright climate, a walk in the sun without sunglasses will provide the same effect. Tanning booths do not work as the eyes need to be covered. Daily bright light exposure can be one of the easiest and quickest ways to reduce depression symptoms.

video: Depression Treatment Interviews w/Julie Fast



 

APA Reference
Fast, J. (2009, January 1). What Do I Need to Know About Bright Light Exposure?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/depression-treatment/what-do-i-need-to-know-about-bright-light-exposure-gsd

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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