Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the seasons change, some individuals experience a shift in their mood, finding themselves grappling with symptoms of depression that recur annually during fall and winter. This phenomenon is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The good news is there are effective treatments available, and one such option gaining prominence is the use of light therapy boxes.

Light therapy boxes, also referred to as light boxes or phototherapy boxes, have shown promise in alleviating the symptoms of SAD. These devices emit light that mimics natural outdoor light, prompting chemical changes in the brain that can lift mood and ease the effects of SAD.

Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic for choosing the right light box and how to use it:

1. Light Intensity: Optimal effectiveness often correlates with light intensity. A recommended exposure of 10,000 lux of light is advised, and brighter boxes typically require shorter usage times compared to dimmer ones.

2. UV Light Emission: Safety is paramount. Light boxes should filter out most, if not all, UV light. Exposure to UV light can be harmful to the eyes, especially for individuals with certain eye conditions like glaucoma or cataracts.

3. Timing and Duration: Typically, using the light box within the first hour of waking up in the morning for about 20 to 30 minutes at a distance of 16 to 24 inches from the face is recommended.

Download the Mayo Clinic article for more information here.