Light therapy probably won't cure seasonal affective disorder, depression or other conditions. But it may ease symptoms, increase your energy levels, and help you feel better about yourself and life.

Light therapy can start to improve symptoms within just a few days. In some cases, though, it can take two or more weeks.

Getting the most out of light therapy

Light therapy isn't effective for everyone. But you can take steps to get the most out of your light therapy and help make it a success.
  • Get the right light box. Do some research and talk to your doctor before buying a light therapy box. That way you can be sure your light box is safe, the right brightness, and that its style and features make it convenient to use.
  • Be consistent. Stick to a daily routine of light therapy sessions to help ensure that you maintain improvements over time. If you simply can't do light therapy every day, take a day or two off, but monitor your mood and other symptoms — you may have to find a way to fit in light therapy every day.
  • Time it right. If you interrupt light therapy during the winter months or stop too soon in the spring when you think you're improving, your symptoms could return.
  • Include other treatment. If your symptoms don't improve enough with light therapy, you may need additional treatment. Talk to your doctor about other treatment options, such as psychotherapy or antidepressants.
Mar. 20, 2013