Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
Depression is more than just feeling sad or down temporarily; it is a complex condition that affects a person's thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but common depression symptoms can include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood: A person with depression may experience a prolonged period of sadness or a persistent feeling of emptiness, even when there is no apparent reason for it.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities: A person with depression may lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed, such as hobbies, socializing, or spending time with loved ones.
- Changes in appetite or weight: Depression can lead to changes in appetite, resulting in either significant weight loss or weight gain.
- Sleep disturbances: Depression can disrupt a person's sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or excessive sleeping.
- Fatigue or loss of energy: People with depression may feel constantly tired, lacking energy or motivation to engage in daily activities.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt: Depression can cause a person to have persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or self-blame, even when there is no rational reason for it.
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions: Depression can impair a person's ability to concentrate, make decisions, or remember things.
- Physical symptoms: Some individuals with depression may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained pains.
- Changes in mood or irritability: Depression can also manifest as increased irritability, agitation, or mood swings.
- Thoughts of death or suicide: In severe cases, depression may lead to recurrent thoughts of death, suicide, or suicidal behaviors.
Photobiomodulation appears to be a safe therapy for people with depression, according to several studies:
Study provides evidence of the antidepressant efficacy of transcranial photobiomodulation on people with Depression
In a study by Schiffer, F. (2009), researchers tested whether near-infrared light could improve mood and brain function on 10 people with depression. They found that after receiving four short treatments of NIR light, several people showed significant improvements in their depression and anxiety symptoms with no side effects.
Another study by Cassano P. (2016) found that tPBM reduced depressive symptoms in eight adults with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). These findings suggest that tPBM may be an effective and safe treatment option for depression.
3. Hamblin MR. Shining light on the head: Photobiomodulation for brain disorders. BBA Clin. 2016 Oct 1;6:113-124. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2016.09.002. PMID: 27752476; PMCID: PMC5066074. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066074/
4. Schiffer, F., Johnston, A.L., Ravichandran, C. et al. Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety. Behav Brain Funct 5, 46 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-9081-5-46 https://behavioralandbrainfunctions.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1744-9081-5-46#citeas
Continue reading below to learn more about photobiomodulation on a cellular level and understand the difference between wavelength and frequency.