Fast Five Quiz: Are You Prepared to Confront Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Stephen Soreff, MD

Disclosures

November 23, 2016

Two types of light therapy are recognized: bright-light therapy (BLT) and dawn simulation. BLT for SAD is used at an intensity of 10,000 lux for 30-90 minutes daily, usually within 1 hour of arising in the morning. Like any effective antidepressant, BLT has the potential to precipitate a hypomanic or manic episode in susceptible individuals. Other common adverse effects include eye irritation, restlessness, and transient headaches. These lamps are not a significant source of ultraviolet (UV) light.

In dawn simulation, a dim light goes on in the morning while the patient sleeps; it gets brighter over time, like a sunrise. Dawn simulation light therapy is generally prescribed for 30 minutes to 2 hours daily, depending on how strong the light and how tolerant the patient has become.

For more on the treatment of depression, read here.

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