Sun Lamps for Winter Depression
Winter Depression – Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD
Winter depression is a well-known condition that affects many people once temperatures fall and the shorter days of winter reduce the availability of natural daylight; in its most serious form, it is diagnosed as ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (more commonly known as ‘SAD’), the symptoms of which can be severe.
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Treating SAD with Sun Lamps
Several methods of dealing with SAD are available today, but one of the most significant is the use of light therapy in the form of sun lamps and light boxes. These mimic the natural sunlight that is in such short supply in winter; they are simple to use and non-addictive, making them a more preferable form of treatment than, say, anti-depressant medication, or other methods that involve changes in everyday lifestyle.
Of course, natural sunlight is the best way to treat seasonal affective disorder but, during those times when it not so readily available, the next best way to deal with it is light therapy.
The Advantages of Light Therapy over Other forms of Treatment
Sun lamps and light boxes have been developed as a result of years of research into winter depression and how to deal with it effectively, and their significance cannot be underestimated, especially when compared with more conventional forms of treatment. They are non-addictive; once a light box or sun lamp has been purchased, there is no further financial outlay; light therapy is easy to use, and more practical and less time-consuming than altering the diet or taking up exercise, making it convenient for those for whom time is at a premium.
How and Why Light Treatment Works
It is important that SAD sufferers start their treatment as soon as they experience symptoms, usually as winter approaches, ideally even before if possible.
Light treatment works by exposing the sufferer to intense levels of light from a specially designed box that is simple to set up and use. Users do not need to look directly at the light; all they have to do is focus on the areas that it illuminates.
It is well known that light affects various hormones and chemicals in the body; it also influences the hypothalamus, an area of the brain which regulates energy, appetite, and mood, all functions that are affected by seasonal affective disorder in winter.
When light levels are reduced in winter, sufferers, even those who are positive and upbeat at other times of the year, feel sad, anxious, and helpless. For them, and the people they live and work with, it can be confusing and bewildering, until they find out why; for such people, discovering that light therapy, something that is so simple to use, can change the way they feel is nothing short of a miracle. Not only will they start to feel better within a couple of days, they will be able to repeat the treatment at the onset of every winter, and avoid winter depression altogether.
How to use a Sun Lamp or Light Box
A sun lamp or a light box can be placed on a table or desk and all the patient has to do is sit, for a short period of time, in the beam of light that it produces. Many people benefit from using the light box for between fifteen and thirty minutes a day, but some need longer. The beauty of this form of treatment is that it can be customized to suit the particular needs of the user and, because it does not need to be administered under clinical conditions, it can be used in a patient’s home or workplace. While undergoing the treatment, patients are free to do other things such as reading, writing, even eating if they choose to use their lamp or light box at meal times. There is no need for light treatment to interfere or interrupt the normal day. Light treatment is not dangerous and possible side effects are minimal, rare, and short-lived; a few patients may experience headaches, nausea, or eyestrain, but these are generally mild and disappear after a day or two.
Winter depression can be a sad fact of life for many people; not everyone wants to turn to medication to get them through the winter months, and not everyone has the spare cash or time to make costly or inconvenient changes to their diets or lifestyles. Light therapy is the perfect solution, and one of the most significant methods of defeating the overwhelming sadness that winter can bring.
Where to get a Sun Lamp?
Occasionally, we advise chronic SAD sufferers to get a professional lamp at Alaska Northern Light website.
You may also read our North Star 10,000 Review which is also our favorite sun lamp.