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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


PAINO, Mercedes; FONSECA-PEDRERO, Eduardo; BOUSONO, Manuel  and  LEMOS-GIRALDEZ, Serafín. Light-therapy applications for DSM-IV-TR disease entities. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2009, vol.23, n.3, pp.166-176. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: Recent decades have seen significant advances in the knowledge of pathogenesis of mood disorders, as well as of other conditions directly or indirectly related to such diseases. Such progress has led to the emergence of new treatments, such as bright light therapy, based on the discovery of the therapeutic effects of exposure to bright light with the so-called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a DSM seasonal pattern specifier linked to major depression and bipolar disorder recurrent describing the course of illness during seasons. The goal of the present work is to review the potential clinical applications of phototherapy, including SAD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, premenstrual syndrome, non seasonal major depression, sleep disorders, jet-lag, dementia, normal populations and in primary care. Methods: A systematic review of the literature about this matter since the early Rosenthal,s group observations has been carried out. Results: A considerable number of studies has been published about this therapeutic approach, pointing that not only depression but also other pathologies that may follow a seasonal pattern could benefit from phototherapy integrated with more standard treatments, as well as other disorders directly or indirectly related to mood, and even another conditions without a seasonal pattern. Conclusions: The data about the different uses of this treatment neither confirm nor dismiss its efficacy, stating that the therapy should still be regarded as experimental. Future studies should continue investigating to draw reliable conclusions about the usefulness of bright light therapy on mood disorders and other conditions to provide an alternative to standard treatments almost exclusively based on psychoactive drugs.

Keywords : Seasonal affective disorder (SAD); Light therapy; Phototherapy.

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