This is how you can fight seasonal depression using artificial light

Ever noticed yourself exhibiting symptoms of depression as soon as winter begins to creep itself back into your life? Then this form of therapy might be the solution you didn't know you needed.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also commonly known as SAD, is a very real and serious mental disorder that affects 1 in every 3 people in the UK. Most people who have SAD don't even know that what they are experiencing is a legitimate form of mental illness that requires therapy. The most common symptoms of this disease include: fluctuating weight, struggle sleeping and experiencing low levels of joy and motivation.

What is the direct cause of SAD?

This type of depression is one that is directly linked to the lack of sunlight we are deficient in during the colder months of the year. The sun emits UV rays that contain vitamin D which is essential for the release of serotonin in our bodies. So the less sunlight we consume, the fewer our levels of serotonin will be in our bodies.

According to Dr. Laura Rhodes-Levin, licensed marriage and family therapist, when we are darker environments, our brains release melatonin to help us feel drowsy and fall asleep:

When experienced regularly, this drowsiness either contributes to the depression or is interpreted as depression.

Essentially, too much darkness confuses the brain into over producing melatonin that causes adverse effects on our mental health.

How can light therapy help?

Luckily, there is a form of therapy readily available that involves artificial light to mimic the effects of natural sunlight:

Light therapy works by exposure to artificial light. The individual sits near a light box, for 15 minutes to three hours, which reduces symptoms because artificial light can have the same result as natural sunlight when it comes to increasing serotonin levels. It’s also thought that light therapy lamps work because they encourage the brain to reduce the production and release of melatonin.

So if you are in need of some light in your life, know that light therapy lamps have been shown through many studies to have instant long term beneficial effects on people suffering from SAD.

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