|Winter has come – time to start thinking about a light box to offset the effects of seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) commonly known as the winter blues is a particular form of depression that affects most people to a certain extent on gloomy winter days and is a problem in approximately 10% of the population (USA and UK). It is recognized by the DSM-IV-Tr, a manual that assists with the diagnosis of illnesses like depression. Symptoms often begin in late autumn or early winter and cease in spring.
Light treatment has been shown in many studies around the world to be effective in alleviating or completely curing the effects of SAD. Two excellent books summarising this research are "Winter Blues" by Norman Rosenthal, and "Seasonal Affective Disorder" by Angela Smyth. Light levels need to be between 2500 and 10000 lux (much higher than standard room lighting of 500 lux). It can be used instead of or in conjunction drug therapy and has many advantages over other treatments such as which include: