Phone: (216) 520-5969
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Independence, OH 44131
30400 Detroit Rd.
Westlake, OH 44145
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Many people either become depressed during winter time or have their depression worsen. The farther north one lives, the more this occurs. Those who are able, often find their mood improves if they go south and take a week or longer vacation in a sunny environment. Other treatment options include light therapy, counseling (especially cognitive behavioral therapy – CBT) for depression, and/or anti-depressant medication.
If you feel there is a seasonal component:
- Increase your exposure to the sun when it is shining;
- Consider light therapy
- Consider counseling and/or self-help for depression;
- If you are on an anti-depressant, speak with your physician about possibly raising the dose.
Light therapy is usually delivered in light boxes. While prices for these products used to begin around $300, a few products can now be bought for less than $100. Most of these lights are white light, "full-spectrum" lights, although some are blue light. Most recommendations for light therapy are to have an intensity of 10,000 lux (a photometric unit – a house light may be about 100 lux) for about 30 minutes in the morning. Using less intense lights (minimum of 2,500 lux) will require more time in front of the lights. A good place to compare products is at www.Amazon.com, where there are also links to other stores.
Research within the last 10 years shows that CBT is about equally effective to light therapy. About 50% of those who get either treatment benefit. This rises to about 80% when the two treatments are combined. The bottom line is that effective treatments for Depression are also effective treatments for SAD.
Winter Blues (Revised 2006) by Norman Rosenthal, MD is THE classic book on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). However, I found even more good information in Seasonal Affective Disorder for Dummies by Laura Smith, PhD and Charles Elliot, PhD.
Copyright © 2008 - 2009. Michael Miller. All rights reserved.