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The winter months are here. For many regions this means dark cold days and darker, colder nights. It’s the time of year when the days grow considerably shorter, temperatures drop, and families across the UK wrap up warm to protect themselves against the elements. It’s also the time when people exhibit symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Known to affect as many as ten percent of people throughout Northern Europe, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that impacts the quality of life. Symptoms can range from disinterest in daily activities, a weakened immune system, lack of energy and concentration to insomnia and abuse of alcohol or narcotics.

Treatments of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Managing SAD is achieved through a combination of anti-depressants, counselling, psychotherapy or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy.) In severe cases doctors can prescribe anti-depressants, combined with light therapy. This allows the sufferer maximum opportunity to inhibit their symptoms and function normally despite their low mood throughout the winter months.

According to SADA (Seasonal Affective Disorder Association) light therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of as many as eighty five percent of diagnosed SAD sufferers.

Light Boxes and SAD

The treatment of SAD with light boxes is highly recommended by doctors and therapists. Involving an exposure to artificial light for an average of two hours each day, light boxes will diminish symptoms of SAD. Mimicking natural outdoor light they re-energise suffers should they feel low or sluggish.

Light boxes radiate artificial light, ten times stronger than that of standard of domestic lighting. Experts believe that light therapy works by regulating the brain chemicals linked to mood, easing SAD symptoms.

Light boxes are designed to filter out most UV light. A light box that emits as little UV light as possible is advised for the treatment of SAD. Traditionally, light boxes emit fluorescent or incandescent lighting however some manufacturers do products that emit light emitting diodes (LED’s.)

There are a number of different styles available to consumers. From upright lamps to small and rectangular boxes, and even a battery powered light therapy device, attached to a visor. The effectiveness of the light box will depend on your personal preferences so it’s important to choose the style that’s most important to you.

One final point: think about the location of the light box. Always place the light box in a place that’s best suited to your personal needs. Always take into consideration the brightness of the light box.  It will need to be within two feet from you.

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