Send to

Choose Destination
Compr Psychiatry. 1999 Nov-Dec;40(6):442-8.

Bright light therapy decreases winter binge frequency in women with bulimia nervosa: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, The New York Hospital, Cornell University Medical Center, Westchester Division, White Plains, NY 10605, USA.


The study objective was to determine the effect of winter bright light therapy on binge and purge frequencies and depressive symptoms in subjects with bulimia nervosa. Thirty-four female bulimic outpatients were treated with either 10,000 lux bright white light or 50 lux dim red light (placebo control) during the winter months. In this double-blind study, the placebo group (n = 18) and the bright light group (n = 16) were matched for age, degree of seasonality (measured by the Seasonal Patterns Assessment Questionnaire [SPAQ]), and concurrent depression (measured by Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV [SCID]). Three weeks of baseline data collection were followed by 3 weeks of half-hour daily morning light treatment and 2 weeks of follow-up evaluation. There was a significant light-treatment by time interaction (Wilks' lambda = .81, F(2,28) = 3.31, P = .05). The mean binge frequency decreased significantly more from baseline to the end of treatment for the bright light group (F(1,29) = 6.41, P = .017) than for the placebo group. The level of depression (measured by daily Beck Depression Inventory [BDI] scores) did not significantly differ between the groups during any phase, and neither depression nor seasonality affected the response to light treatment. In this double-blind study, bulimic women who received 3 weeks of winter bright light treatment reported a reduced binge frequency between baseline and the active treatment period in comparison to subjects receiving dim red light.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center