Light therapy is used to treat depression and anxiety and is used by people of all ages to relieve their moods.
It is commonly used in hospitals and some centres in Australia.
A new study is looking into how light therapy can help reduce the symptoms of depression in children.
Children and young people are among the most vulnerable to depression, and many of them have not been treated by professionals.
A survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that of the 14,500 children and young adults aged between 16 and 25 in the study, 2,879 experienced a depressive episode at some point during the year.
In the same age group, nearly 3 per cent of the people surveyed reported feeling anxious, depressed or anxious at some time during the previous year.
“This study is an opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of light therapy in children and adolescents to reduce their anxiety and reduce depressive symptoms,” Dr Fiona D’Este, the study’s lead researcher, said.
“We also want to know how light therapies affect depressive symptoms in children as well as the effectiveness and safety of light therapies in adults.”
Dr D’Ese said that while light therapy is not widely used in children, it could be helpful for people with depression.
“There’s some evidence that light therapy reduces the symptoms and depression of people with major depressive disorder (MDD),” she said.
A similar study from the same Australian institute found that light therapies can help people with anxiety.
“While we do not yet have the scientific evidence on the safety of these light therapies, they are generally considered safe,” Dr D.D. said.
The researchers say light therapy has also been used successfully to treat anxiety in adults.
“Light therapy is a safe and effective way to treat patients with anxiety and the most commonly used light therapy for adults is fluoxetine,” Dr. D’Elias said.
Children are especially vulnerable to depressive symptoms, particularly if they are experiencing severe anxiety or worry about their future.
“Children are often not fully developed in terms of coping mechanisms, and are at high risk of developing depression as a consequence of depression,” Dr J.S. said, adding that depression in young children can have devastating consequences for their development.
“It’s really important that we take the time to recognise and address the symptoms that young children are struggling with and that we are trying to intervene early.”