Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that impacts individuals as the seasons change into the fall and winter months. There are many ways to treat SAD, including cognitive therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Another common way to treat SAD is through light treatment.
Symptoms and Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Much of seasonal depression has to do with the amount of natural light we experience during the fall and winter. Genetics also play a role in your likelihood of developing SAD, but a lack of natural sunlight is a common contributor among all individuals. SAD’s common symptoms include a general disinterest in things you once enjoyed, a lack of appetite, hopelessness, and a lack of motivation.
How Light Treatment Fights Seasonal Affective Disorder
A lack of natural light is one of the biggest reasons for developing SAD. Introducing more light into your daily life can drastically reverse some of the negative thoughts and feelings associated with the disorder. Light treatment or light therapy uses a light box to mimic outdoor light. In return, the light creates a chemical change in our brain that uplifts our mood and reduces SAD symptoms. It is recommended to use your light box for 20 to 30 minutes every morning to reap its positive effects.
Light boxes are the essential component used in light treatment. Typically, a light box uses cool white fluorescent or LED lights with roughly 10,000 lux and low UV emissions. Fluorescent and LED lights are the best light box options as they provide much more natural light than incandescent; in addition, there are many other differences between the bulb types. These lights will also protect your eyes and skin from too much light exposure.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can make getting through the fall and winter months grueling. Providing more light during darker months is the essential component of how light treatment fights Seasonal Affective Disorder.