What is the role of bright-light therapy (BLT) in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Bright-light therapy (BLT) for seasonal affective disorder 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. Conventional antidepressants, with or without BLT, also can be used to treat seasonal affective disorder.

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