Bright light therapy may benefit older patients with depression

The New York Times “Well” blog reported that, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, bright light therapy, currently used to help patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), may also benefit older patients with depression.

In a study including 89 patients over the age of 60, “compared with a placebo, light therapy improved mood just as well as conventional antidepressant medications.”

The study’s lead author said that bright light therapy “should be considered for major depression because of its benefits, especially the apparent lack of adverse side effects.”

I agree and, in fact, recommend light therapy to my patients suffering from depression or SAD.

The study notes that light therapy improved mood, enhanced sleep efficiency, and increased melatonin levels (helping sleep). In addition, light therapy produced continuing improvement in mood after discontinuation of treatment.

Like the Lord God said after He created light … “It is good.”

One thought on “Bright light therapy may benefit older patients with depression

  • Steve

    I have long heard of this as a theory. Spending more time outside in natural light has long been rumored to help those who struggle with depression. I am glad to hear that there is some weight behind the argument.

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