A Product-Service System Approach to Light Therapy for Treatment of Seasonal Depression
Authors: Kaat Kenis, Ivo Dewit
Abstract: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a subtype of depression in which the patient is affected by hours of daylight received during specific seasons. Besides the classic symptoms of a depressive disorder, SAD causes hypersomnia and cravings for carbohydrates. SAD is caused by several psychological and biological mechanisms of which the shift of the circadian rhythm caused by an imbalance of melatonin is one. This specific mechanism can be treated using bright light therapy. During daily light therapy sessions, the user is subjected to a strong light source directed to the eyes. Although bright light therapy (BLT) is proven to be an effective non-pharmaceutical treatment, compliance and motivation of patients is low.In this paper, we analyse the specific needs and wishes of seasonal depression sufferers, to gain an understanding in the ways in which the light therapy market is currently lacking. By conducting in-depth interviews as well as diary surveys and field research, insights were collected to map the users’ needs and experiences. After a short analysis of the technical specifications and market segments of daylight lamps, a list of requirements was composed to support the design process of a new, innovate light therapy system in which there is a clear focus on user experience.This paper contributes to the literature on light therapy and SAD, offering a new user-centred angle to the theoretical line-up of research papers in order to increase therapy compliance and improve user experience during light therapy sessions.
Keywords: Seasonal Affective Disorder, Light Therapy, Product-service systems
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