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Seasonal affective disorder: new light therapy treatment manual for physicians


New light therapy treatment manual for clinicians.

Millions of patients gain unwanted weight, struggle with intense cravings for sugary foods and dread the onset of winter because they know they will feel depressed and tired more often than not.

Most of these patients end up in their general physician’s office. Many are not willing to take antidepressant medication, and don't perceive their problem as a psychiatric disorder.

Physicians and mental health professionals can stay current and help their patients by utilizing the first clinician's manual for SAD light therapy. It will help practitioners understand seasonal symptoms, wake therapy,  and light therapy -  now the first-line treatment of choice in Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Dr. Michael Terman, who developed 10,000 lux light therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), communicated with this author. He said that if light therapy were a pill it would be prescribed regularly in the United States. It acts faster than anti-depressant medications for many types of depression. It also helps people suffering from winter blues, as well as a number of other disorders.

Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders: A Clinician’s Manual for Light and Wake Therapy

Terman and his colleagues Anna Wirz-Justice and Francesco Benedetti have just released the manual, titled, Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders: A Clinician’s Manual for Light and Wake Therapy, published by Karger.

  • The manual provides a thorough history of the rationale and research around wake therapy and light therapy.
  • The authors give the most up-do-date treatment protocols for inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as considerations regarding bipolar patients and the prevention of hypomania.
  • Timing considerations as well as combination treatment issues are all laid out.
  • Case illustrations are used to illustrate lessons learned in the research.
  • Special considerations for outpatient compliance and implementation in private practices are discussed.
  • The authors are seeking input from the field.

Light therapy is the ideal solution for many patients who don’t want to take medication, or don’t perceive themselves as having a mental disorder. Instead of following through on the doctor’s recommendation for antidepressant medications, they may continue to suffer needlessly or seek additional testing looking for the cause of their symptoms.

Medical and mental health professionals will benefit their patients by availing themselves of Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders: A Clinician's Manual for Light and Wake Therapy which is available widely at outlets such as Amazon. Dr. Terman also suggests that patients who understand the seasonal nature of their symptoms be proactive by educating themselves about light therapy and calling it to the attention of their doctors, who may not be inclined to seek out the information on their own.

More information is available in this review of Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders

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