According to a new study published in Sleep Medicine, Light therapy is as effective as antidepressants in treating depression. From the first study in 1984, we have known that light therapy is very effective in treating seasonal casualties because it is about countering the decline in brightness. But this treatment remains underestimated.
A team from Strasbourg University Hospital has just published a meta-study bringing together all the available tests in the scientific literature, about 400 participants, and comparing the effects of light therapy with antidepressants for the treatment of severe depression. The team also examined the effects of combining the two treatments. In psychiatry in France, habits are very drugged, but this work shows new scientific evidence on the effectiveness of light therapy.
Interview with psychiatrist and neuroscientist Pierre-Alexis Geoffroy who conducted this study.
If we compare light therapy with antidepressants, our study shows no superiority of one treatment over another. This is the first very important information. No treatment is superior to each other. The second important information found was that the mild combination of antidepressant was significantly superior to antidepressant monotherapy. This information is very useful clinically because it invites physicians, in the face of severe depression, to prescribe both therapies early on to have a better effect and be more effective. And the other information too: we do an analysis, what we call subgroups, that is, patients with only non-seasonal minimums. Dual therapy has also been shown to be more effective in patients with so-called non-seasonal depression.
According to your work, could the therapeutic option of phototherapy be a first line option?
Absolutely, that's exactly it. What we hope for next is to think of light therapy at the front line, not just the second line, of effective treatment, which has proven to be effective. This is at least one additional tool in the doctors toolbox. It's not just the answer to classic antidepressants. Think twice about this dual therapy because it works better than antidepressant alone. But beyond this seasonal affective disorder, thus a non-seasonal depression, light therapy was not really a strategy used. That must change. Doctors think this should be one of the tools available because there is a certain amount of scientific evidence.
LA_METHODE_SCIENTIFIQUE – Pierre Alexis Geoffroy
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