All the suggestions in the last blog can help you alleviate S.A.D. symptoms this season. When these tips are maintained as a lifestyle change year-round, they can also help prevent or lessen S.A.D. symptoms for future winters. Another successful preventative tool is called Light Therapy, which mimics exposure to sunlight.
Light Therapy should be undertaken only with a health care provider’s permission and under his or her instruction. You will need a special lamp with a 10,000 lux bulb in order to mimic sunlight’s properties. It is recommended that you begin Light Therapy before symptoms of S.A.D. start, so generally late fall or early winter are the best times to begin. You need to sit in front of the light for at least 30 minutes every day in order to get the best results. Typically, you want to sit a few feet away from the light and keep your eyes open (but do not look directly into the light) for those 30 minutes. It is also recommended that these sessions take place in the morning to mimic the sunrise. After 3 – 4 weeks, S.A.D. symptoms should improve if Light Therapy is going to be effective for you.
Light Therapy is not a good therapy for everyone, however. First of all, a check-up with your eye doctor is recommended before beginning treatment. If you are on medications that cause sensitivity to light, you should not use Light Therapy. Check the warnings on your medications or speak to your pharmacist or psychiatrist about your medications to see if Light Therapy is safe for you before you begin. If you have Bipolar Disorder, Light Therapy may trigger mania, so speak to your health care professionals before beginning Light Therapy. The most common side effects of Light Therapy are headache and eye strain.