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SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Therapy Lamps - Light Reviews & Comparisons

Updated on November 30, 2010

SAD Lamps - to reduce the effects of SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - More than just 'winter blues'

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is more than simply a case of winter blues, or cabin fever. It is a type of depression, and can be a sever depression. This depression occurs at the same time of year, every year. For some people it begins in fall, and continues into spring. The duration for each person suffering from SAD is different, as is the specific symptoms suffered.

Sufferers from SAD may experience a decline in energy levels, increased mood imbalances, and general depression. Other symptoms may include oversleeping, loosing interest in actives you regularly enjoy, irritability, appetite changes, and wait gain.

These symptoms are likely felt by many people at some point through out the year, or during the dark days of winter. However, for some people these feelings persist daily, to the extent where normal daily activities become difficult. When daily life begins to feel challenging, it may be time to visit a doctor.

Potential Causes of SAD

The reduced sunlight in winter months is believed to be the main factor of SAD. It is believed between 2-3% of the population suffers from SAD (based on research held in Ontario), while an additional 15% is thought to experience 'winter blues' throughout the winter months.

SAD is more common in adults, although it may still affect some children. It also affects people who live further north due to the reduced amount of sunlight during winter months.

Light Therapy could help with SAD

Treatment of SAD

Treatment of SAD can include medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and ionized-air administration. For these treatments it is essential to visit your doctor to discuss these options.

One method which is easier to personally apply is to increase the level of exposure to sunlight. This works well for people who don't have as severe of a case of SAD. There are a few ways this can be achieved:

  • Rearrange your environment during the hours of daylight to maximize your exposure
  • Take afternoon walks, or lunch hour walks
  • Trim branches away from windows
  • Get a cat
  • Open all curtains
  • Vacation to a sunny, warm destination (okay - maybe not possible for everyone)
  • Exposure to bright, artificial light through light therapy - Lightbox's are said to be effect with a dose between 2,500 and 10,000 lux. Generally, you are to sit a prescribed distance, commonly between 30-60cm in front of the lightbox, but not staring directly into it. This treatment is recommended to last between 30-60 minutes.

Choosing a light to treat SAD

  • Since lightbox therapy is effective at doses of 2,500–10,000 lux be sure your lightbox fits within this range.
  • A recommendation by a psychological or psychiatric institute
  • Programmable options, or timed sessions

NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp

This light fits all the above criteria - it includes a 10, 000 lux light therapy, and negative ion therapy. And more importantly, it is recommended by Columbia Department of Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatry Institute. When unsure which of the many products out there to choose from, such a recommendation is probably aid to such a decision.

You also have a 30 day money back guarantee and 2-year warranty - so be sure to start using it right away!

Uplift Technologies DL930 Day-Light 10,000 Lux SAD Lamp

This light fits the requirement of emitting 10,000 lux of light. Its unique design also allows it to have a different angle than the NatureBright SunTouch, said to mimic the angle of outdoor light. However, this may also make it easier to complete other tasks while being exposed to the light.

Verilux HappyLite Deluxe Sunshine Simulator

Verilux HappyLite Deluxe Sunshine Simulator

Another lightbox option from Verilux.  It also provides 10,000 lux, and has a wall mount option if a space saving option is a feature you desire.

A three year limited warranty is also provided with this product.

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    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      This has been the dreariest winter I can remember in Utah. SAD is a real emotion. It helps deal with the depression to understand what is going on in your brain. Have you had any personal experience with one of these lamps?

    • ForTheInterim profile image
      Author

      ForTheInterim 8 years ago from Montreal

      At least we have passed winter solstice - each day will have more and more sunlight! For those of us in the northern hemisphere anyways!

    • profile image

      Linda Myshrall 8 years ago

      Hi FTI, Your timing on this couldn't be better... It's cold and miserable with no end in sight! I'm off to open the curtains and take a walk.

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