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Seasonal Affective Disorder and Beyond

Light Treatment for SAD and Non-SAD Conditions

Edited by Raymond W. Lam, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-867-9
  • Item #8867


In 1984, Dr. Norman Rosenthal and his colleagues published a seminal research paper on seasonal affective disorder (SAD), unveiling what they were convinced was the healing power of light therapy for people suffering from the illness. Since then, many scientific and medical communities have come to believe that the therapeutic use of light holds great promise for not only SAD, but also a variety of other disorders.

This wide-ranging book combines in a single, cohesive reference new, up-to-the-minute findings with a complete summary of the available literature on light therapy. Seventeen contributors, leading clinicians studying the effects and uses of light treatment, discuss the impact of light and light therapy on such conditions as SAD, premenstrual depression, circadian phase sleep disorders, jet lag, shift work disorders, insomnia, and behavioral disturbances. Challenging conventional thinking about light therapy, several contributing authors make convincing cases for its positive effects in treating nonseasonal depression, bulimia nervosa, and other illnesses. Finally, members of a joint task force of the Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms and the American Sleep Disorders Association explore the use of light for treating sleep disorders, as well as a combination of light and melatonin in some cases.

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Beyond is an invaluable reference tool for clinicians, researchers, scientists, students, and consumers who want the latest information and opinion about the therapeutic uses of light compiled in one succinct, comprehensive volume.


  • Preface. The healing light: interface of physics and biology. Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder. On the specific action and clinical domain of light therapy. Psychobiological studies of light therapy in seasonal affective disorder. Dawn simulation and bright light therapy for subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder. Light treatment for nonseasonal major depression: are we ready? Light therapy of premenstrual depression. Seasonality of bulimia nervosa and treatment with light therapy. Light and melatonin treatment of circadian phase sleep disorders. Bright light treatment for jet lag and shiftwork. Bright light treatment of sleep maintenance insomnia and behavioral disturbance. SAD and beyond: a commentary. Index.

About the Authors

Raymond W. Lam, M.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Mood Disorders at the University of British Columbia; Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

This is a definitive volume on the use of light treatment for seasonal affective disorder and other psychiatric syndromes. It is comprehensive and scholarly and covers a broad range of issues. It differs from other volumes in that it dares to break new ground by examining in a scholarly manner controversial issues related to SAD and light treatment. . . . The chapters on light therapy in other psychiatric syndromes are a critically important addition to previous volumes on SAD and suggest that the phenomenon of light treatment and the understanding of its biology extend far beyond SAD. . . . Dr. Lam should be congratulated on assembling a top-notch group of experts in the field. They have responded to his enthusiasm and challenge and have written a superb volume which will stand as the definitive book on seasonal mood syndromes and light therapy.—Russell T. Joffe, M.D., Dean and Vice President, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

As a reference text this book is well laid out and referenced with key topics indexed. A worthwhile volume for clinicians and researched involved in treatment of seasonal and circadian disorders. As for the Dad or light therapy skeptics. . . the authors can only hope that after a read even they shall see the light!—International Review of Psychiatry, Oyedehi Ayonrinde, Affective Disorders Unit, The Maudsley Hospital, London, United Kingdom

It was only about 15 years ago that psychiatrists were first introduced to a new treatment—bright light therapy—for a newly recognized psychiatric syndrome, seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A great deal has been learned since then, not only about light therapy but about other disorders for which it may be useful: ircadian phase sleep disorders such as jet lag, shiftwork, and delayed sleep syndrome, premenstrual depression, bulimia nervosa, perhaps even nonseasonal major depression. This book, edited by Raymond Lam M.D., one of the leading clinical researchers in the field, is both a practical introduction for the novice psychiatric clinician and a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the basic mechanisms of light therapy, the pathophysiology of the disorders, and the pitfalls and future prospects of light therapy for the clinical researcher. I recommend it highly for anyone interested in this new and exciting field.—J. Christian Gillin, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California

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