Bright Light Therapy seems like an appealing treatment for depression because it is so “natural”. Sitting in front of a bright light for an hour in the early morning extends the perceiving length of your day and convinces the brain that it is summertime even during the winter months.
Unfortunately, bright lights are helpful only for the seasonal type patients whose depression consistently develops in the fall or early winter and gets better in the spring. The latest rage interesting depression is an extract from the plant St.John’ wort that can be purchased in any health food store.
There has been very little systematic study for St, John’s wort and it is not yet cleared whether, it is effective, for what indications, and with what side effects. A few small studies performed in Germany suggest it may useful for milder depression and a large study now underway at ten sites in USA should provide more definitive answers.
There is usually no free lunch is probably a weak antidepressant but with fewer side effects. It certainly does not make sense to go off a winning medicine with effects you know for the uncertainties of ST.john’s wort, particularly since it is possible that the antidepressant may not work as well the second time around.
This brings up the question of other health store or homeopathic treatments for depression. Be cautions. It does make intuitive sense that there may be any number of “organic” and “natural” antidepressants.
Nature is a much smarter and more comprehensive chemist than the combined efforts of the research departments of all the pharmaceutical companies and it has had lots of time to invent millions of possibly medicinal compounds. Some of our most effective medicines have been brewed by nature and it is no accident that botany and medicine grew up together.