Seasonal Affective disorder is something that affects many people. It becomes most apparent in the winter months with darker, shorter days causing people to feel symptoms of depression at this time. These include but are not limited to: sleeping more, loss or appetite and less enthusiasm in life. SAD.org.uk;the registered National Voluntary Organisation for information on the disorder, advice that drugs should not be used to treat SAD, instead they advise using light therapy to treat it.
Light therapy works by replicating natural sunlight by giving off a white light that contains colours across the spectrum. This is said to stimulate the production of the hormone serotonin which stimulates the body to be awake. Recently, LEDs have been used more frequently in light therapy as it was recently discovered that not only does the natural daylight spectrum help combat SAD, but the bandwidths of blue light found in most LEDs have been found to help too.
When undergoing light therapy, a patient will often sit in front of a special light box. The light given off replicates that of sunshine, which in turn stimulates the productions of hormones within the body that are thought to be lacking in sufferers of SAD. Sufferers will sit in front of one of these lights for between 20- 90 minutes a day. SAD lights can be purchased for home use, but be careful to ensure it is a correct medically certified light box. Check this list to see if you box you wish to purchase will be a medically recommended light box and will help treat your SAD symptoms.
By using light therapy you are helping to combat the cause of the symptoms, whereas taking drugs such as anti depressant will only cover up the symptoms and will not work to treat the SAD. There are other things that can help to aid symptoms of SAD and these include a dawn simulator which can help to lessen some symptoms of SAD however, this will not work as effectively as light therapy. These simulators light up gradually, simulating sunrise and helping allow your body to wake up naturally. It is supposed to ensure you are fully awake, in a natural manner.
Light therapy is helping sufferers of SAD every day combat their symptoms and carry on with life as normal. We would love to hear from you if you have has experience using LED light therapy to help with treating SAD. Comment below with your experiences; Did the light therapy help you? Did you use a traditional light box or and LED light box?