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

Stephen Soreff, MD


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.

Editor's Recommendations


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.