Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder

The following is an excerpt from a recent interview. Read the full article HERE.

Light therapy for S.A.D.

Q: Do you recommend light therapy for any of your patients? What is the result?

A: I often recommend light therapy for patients who have depression and who notice that the winters are particularly difficult. Quite a few of my patients have found it helpful.

Q: In your experience, what proportion of patients with major depression worsen in the winter?

A: Approx. 20%.

Q: Do you believe light therapy can mitigate symptoms of the milder “winter blues” as well as the more severe SAD? Where do you place the distinction between the two?

A: In major depression, the impairment often prevents the person from getting out of bed or functioning. It can also include feelings of hopelessness, despondency, and suicidal thoughts. In the “winter blues,” the person is often able to function adequately but they feel chronically down, with low energy and fatigue being predominant symptoms.

Q: Once light therapy has been prescribed by your doctor, where should you buy a light box? What are things to look for?

A: I recommend Northern Light Technologies or Alaska Northern Lights for quality light boxes. Light boxes need to be 8,000 to 10,000 lux (lux being a unit of light intensity), to be used for 20 minutes in the AM, and it can be placed indirectly. FYI - a typical fluorescent bulb is around 500 lux!

Another good article about Seasonal Affective Disorder HERE.