major depression

Light therapy for depression: What is it, and how does it work?

Bright light therapy is a treatment that’s become increasingly common for treating seasonal affective disorder, a condition that impacts many during the winter months. We sat down with our in-house research specialist to discuss light therapy – what it is, how it works and if it can help treat other types of depression in addition to seasonal affective disorder. What is light therapy? Light therapy, sometimes called blue light therapy or light box therapy, involves sitting or working, for a prescribed amount of time, near a device that gives off light that mimics daylight. It’s thought to ease symptoms of depression by impacting brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep. Light therapy effectiveness: What the research says While additional studies are needed to fully understand the role of light therapy, so far results from clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of this treatment on people with major depressive disorder (MDD) have been generally positive. One study, involving 50 inpatients with severe MDD, found that when researchers combined the antidepressant venlafaxine with light therapy, recipients experienced “significantly lower HDRS depression scores” than those only taking the antidepressant. The HDRS (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) is a questionnaire that helps provide an indication of depression severity. Another 8-week …

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It’s time to recognize National Anxiety and Depression Week

We already posted about raising awareness for mental health, and now we’re recognizing National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week (May 5-10). Since 1994, the week has been organized by Freedom from Fear, a national non-profit focused on raising awareness for depression and anxiety. If you haven’t heard much about these two conditions, here are some quick facts from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):   An estimated 40 million American adults live with anxiety.1 Only one third of these people receive treatment.1 At any time, 3% to 5% of all people are experiencing depression.2 The lifetime risk of depression is about 17%.2 Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety.2 According to the ADAA, common anxiety symptoms can range from increased worry and social tension to extreme restlessness or general fatigue, and often, these symptoms can be magnified by depression. Over 17,000 PatientsLikeMe members report being diagnosed with either generalized anxiety or major depression, including almost 7,000 who are living with both conditions. If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, you’re not alone – you can share your story in the forum and find support on any topic. The PatientsLikeMe mood community is always …

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