How light therapy can help lift spirits

Use it earlier in the day

(WBAY) – Short days and limited sunshine can affect our mood. For some, it leads to a depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

One alternative treatment is light therapy.

Kathryn Peterson, a licensed counselor with Prevea Health, says it works for a lot of her patients with SAD.

Peterson showed us a light box set up on her desk. She recommends the brightness at 10,000 LUX–without harmful UV rays.

She recommends using it for about one hour each day. Use it earlier in the day so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.

“Just something to simulate some artificial light to help some of that rejuvenation,” said Peterson. “For a lot of people they do help. Most people will also either be talking to doctor, being on some type of medication, or also participate in counseling, talk about things that are stressful, things to help when they’re not motivated or feeling down.”

ADDITIONAL READING:

Here are some helpful links for light treatment for depression:

National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

Columbia University research: http://www.columbia.edu/~mt12/blt.htm
http://columbiapsychiatry.org/clinicalservices/light-treatment-center

New York Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/light-therapy-for-depression/?_r=0

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