Alternative therapies are a now-essential part of the addiction recovery process at most rehabs. Some utilize common forms of alternative therapy, like art or music therapy, but others take a different, more cutting-edge approach. Light therapy is a treatment with a history dating back to ancient Greece, but modern treatments have adapted the idea of light therapy into something truly effective with clear results. While light therapy is commonly used to help those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), light therapy is gaining recognition as a style of alternative therapy with a number of unexpected uses and benefits.
Humble Beginnings, Surprising Efficacy
The modern application of light therapy began as a way to combat SAD, a type of depression that usually sets in during fall and winter. SAD is usually caused in part by a lack of natural sunlight, so to nullify this, patients usually spend time near a device called a light therapy box. The box produces a light that mimics natural, outdoor light which can facilitate the release of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps regulate mood, and an increase in this neurotransmitter can help negate depression. While light therapy can clearly help those suffering from SAD, an increase in serotonin can also help with some of the side effects of addiction and withdrawal.
Withdrawal and Light Therapy
Withdrawal occurs when a drug has begun to leave the system, and the body craves the chemicals it helped release. Serotonin, along with other neurotransmitters, are often the most affected by addiction, and are in short supply during recovery. Light therapy’s ability to produce serotonin in the brain can be overwhelmingly helpful for those in recovery. This is especially true for those attending rehab in a climate with limited sunlight. Light therapy has proven to be an essential part of recovery, and is incredibly effective for virtually everyone who experiences it.
Light therapy is proof that despite its status as an alternative therapy, it can still be incredibly effective at treating some of the more difficult parts of recovery. Sometimes, depression and withdrawal can be overcome with nothing more than a little sunshine.