More and more the world is becoming a difficult place for young people to live in. This is so as youths are confronted with pressure to perform highly on school examinations, deal with complex relationships, experience body changes, bullying and general uncertainties which come with entering adulthood. In some communities there are increases in the number of young person’s engaging in self harm/self injurious behaviors. It is important therefore, that these children be given the opportunity to learn more positive coping mechanisms as they combat feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem and mental health issues.
Research we’re watching
Light therapy has been the treatment of choice for seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—the gloom that descends on some people as the days grow short. The therapy typically involves spending about 30 minutes a day—usually immediately after waking—in front of a box that emits bright fluorescent light. A study published online Nov. 18, 2015, by JAMA Psychiatry demonstrates that light therapy can also alleviate major depressive disorder.
Researchers randomly assigned 122 women and men with major depression to four groups—31 received fluoxetine (Prozac) and light therapy, 32 received light therapy and a placebo pill, 31 took fluoxetine and underwent a sham (placebo) treatment using an ion generator in place of the light box, and 30 took a placebo and underwent sham therapy. At the end of the eight-week treatment period, depression was alleviated in 17 of those who had both light therapy and fluoxetine, 14 of those who had light therapy and took placebo pills, six who took fluoxetene and had sham light therapy, and nine who had only placebo treatments.
If you’re battling depression and searching for a new treatment, light therapy may be worth a try, either alone or in conjunction with an antidepressant. There are few side effects.