How Does Light Therapy Relieve SAD?
In many ways the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder is similar to that of other major depressive episodes, utilizing antidepressant or mood stabilizing medication and/or psychotherapy. In addition, the exposure to bright light has been found to be an effective means of treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. The individual sits in front of a bright light unit, a specialized, portable box which houses balanced spectrum fluorescent tubes. An individual’s needs for light therapy specifies the duration of exposure and the optimal time of day. An individual should meet periodically with their health care professional. The dose of light therapy should be adjusted as needed. The most successful treatments for SAD involve identifying how the change in daylight shifts the person’s daily circadian rhythms, especially in their sleep cycle. Most people with SAD symptoms show changes in their sleep/wake patterns and melatonin levels. Bright light is known to be a powerful regulator of melatonin