Treating depression with light

For more than twenty years, they have been trying to treat depression with the help of light, counting on a change in the disturbed biological rhythms of a sick person. It has been experimentally proved that a change in biological rhythms in the human body occurs when it is illuminated by a light source of increased intensity. Attempts have been made to prevent seasonal exacerbation of depression by “lengthening the daytime” with artificial lighting and sleep deprivation. It is assumed that bright and long-term exposure to light affects the centers of circadian rhythms, inhibits melatonin secretion in the pineal gland (endocrine gland, which partly regulates the activity of other organs of the endocrine system), causes a change in the concentration of cortisol and ACTH in the patient’s blood, alters the synthesis of catecholamines, has sympathicotonic and parasympathicotonic (due to the thermal effect) action. Ultimately, these changes lead to treatment for depression. To obtain a therapeutic effect, a room illumination of at least 2600 and no more than 8000 lux is required . The required illumination is achieved by using incandescent lamps located on the ceiling of the chamber at a height of about 2.5 meters. Typically 27 200W incandescent bulbs are used. It was noted that the effectiveness of light treatment increases when the therapeutic room is painted white or green, as well as when the body is exposed to a maximum (more than 25%). Before starting light therapy, the patient is carefully examined. Treatment of depression with light can be performed at any time of the day, either daily or at intervals of two to three days. During a therapy session, patients who are only asked not to close their eyes are free to move around the room. Most specialists associate the positive effect of light therapy with an increase in the regulatory function of the cerebral cortex, as well as with the normalization of the activity of the autonomic system. It is interesting to note the sensitivity to light therapy in patients with manifestations of anxiety. Patients with symptoms of melancholy and apathy respond to this type of therapy to a lesser extent. Speaking about the mechanism of the therapeutic effect of this therapy, the thermal effect of light should also be noted. Common contraindications to the treatment of depression and other mental disorders with light are oncological diseases and eye pathology. Special tabletop devices have now been developed to treat depression with light.         

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