Estimates vary, but somewhere between 4% and 6% of the North American population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The particular kind of SAD that is referred to in this article is the winter depression. Winter depression rates tend to increase the farther North you go in North America, as the condition is linked to decreased sunlight as the days get shorter.
Therefore, it makes sense that one of the ways to treat SAD (the winter depression type) is through the use of SAD lamps. As with many other purchases, you want to do your homework before you decide on a lamp that is safe and effective.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when looking for a SAD lamp:
1. Get recommendations from your local mood disorders association
If you have a local mood disorders association or another mental health association, give them a call to see what brand of SAD lamp they recommend and why they recommend that particular type.
2. Choose a lamp with a suitable intensity of light
10,000 lux is the recommended intensity of light. With this intensity, you should only require exposure to your lamp for thirty minutes per day. However, if you go with a lamp of lower intensity, the length of time you will need to sit under it will be increased.
3. Determine what style of lamp will work best
The best way to use your lamp is to do something else while sitting under it. You do not need to stare into the light. In fact, this is not recommended. You just need to have your eyes open so that they are receiving light from your lamp.
So check out the distance you need to be from the lamp to receive maximum illumination, and consider the type of stand your lamp is on. For example, if you plan to work on your computer every morning while sitting under your lamp, you will want to ensure that your lamp does not block your computer screen.
4. Check with your physician and optometrist before using or purchasing a SAD lamp
In most cases, SAD lamps are safe. However, if you take medications such as antibiotics or antipsychotics, have eye problems, or have a history of mania, then phototherapy may not be appropriate for you.
5. Ensure that the lamp you purchase filters ultraviolet (UV) light
Because your body and eyes will be spending a lot of time under the light, you need to ensure that the bulbs used in your lamp have UV filters or screens.
In summary, seasonal affective disorder does have effective treatments. One of those is using a SAD lamp. By using the tips above, it will make it easier to find a lamp that suits your needs, is effective, and safe.