Treatment experts have used light therapy for a number of health problems over the last few decades. In fact, even a hundred years ago, some physicians recognized the power of light to help treat physical illnesses and infections. More recently, lamps and light therapy treat people who get depressed in the winter months. This is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Now, researchers are finding that light may not just be for seasonal mental illness. It may be able to help treat people with year-round depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer\u2019s disease. Read on to learn more about how professionals use light therapy to improve mental health\u00a0and how Lucida Treatment Center can help you cope with mental illness.\r\nLight Therapy and SAD\r\nSAD is a very real and common is a kind of depression that affects some people in the winter months when sunlight is scarce. Symptoms of SAD include those of major depression, like feeling sad and hopeless, lack of interest in normal activities, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and trouble concentrating. If you have SAD, you may also experience additional symptoms:\r\n\r\n \tLow energy or fatigue\r\n \tA heavy feeling in the arms and legs\r\n \tIrritability and difficulty getting along with others\r\n \tSleeping more than is normal\r\n \tGaining weight\r\n \tCraving foods high in carbohydrates\r\n \tHypersensitivity to being rejected or neglected\r\n\r\nPeople suffer from SAD because their circadian rhythms change in the winter when less light impacts this natural cycle. Brain chemicals that affect mood, serotonin, and melatonin, may shift and cause the symptoms of SAD.\r\n\r\nLight therapy can restore the proper balance in your brain. It involves sitting in front of a special lightbox for a certain period of time. It mimics natural light and seems to actually change brain chemicals for mood.\r\nLight Therapy to Treat Major Depression\u00a0\r\nRecent research is finding that this simple kind of treatment may not be just for SAD. If you struggle with major depression, time with a lightbox could help you feel better at any time of year. This may be because the circadian rhythms, which seasonal daylight changes also affect, are also disturbed in people with depression and other mental illnesses at any time of year.\r\n\r\nSeveral studies have proven that light therapy can help people with depression and other issues. For instance, veterans struggling with major depression or bipolar depression were given light therapy or a placebo. Those with light therapy experienced improved symptoms, while those with the placebo did not.\r\n\r\nIn another study, elderly people with depression were given light therapy every day for three weeks. They saw significant improvement in symptoms. Light therapy is promising not only because it works, but also because it works quickly and rarely causes side effects. The light that light therapy uses mimics the sun, but it removes the damaging ultraviolet light.\r\n\r\nThe occasional side effects of light therapy are mild. They include slight headaches and nausea. Light therapy could also be a good option for people who cannot or do not want to take antidepressants. For instance, elderly people may not be able to take antidepressants because they interfere with other medications. Pregnant women may also wish to avoid antidepressants and could benefit from light therapy.\r\nHow Lucida Treatment Center Can Help\r\nThe promise of light therapy for mental illness is great. Studies for its use in other conditions, like anxiety disorders and Alzheimer\u2019s disease, are positive but minimal. Lightboxes pose little risk, so it makes sense to study this therapy more and to use it for more people who struggle with mood disorders. Reach out to Lucida Treatment Center at to see if light therapy may be right for you. It cannot hurt to try it, after all, and it could help immensely.