The increasingly darkening days have led me into greater depression in winters past. That, and the fact that Northeastern Ohio has very few sunny days in the winter have me thinking about SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Some people brush it off as the Winter Blues but experts say SAD really exists. According to the Mayo Clinic website, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of depression that comes and goes based on seasons. Symptoms specific to winter SAD include irritability, tiredness or low energy, appetite changes, especially a craving for foods higher in carbohydrates, and a heavy leaden feeling in the legs or arms.
Risk factors include being female, age (younger people are more at risk for SAD than older people), and having clinical or bipolar (me) depression.
Treatment for SAD includes medication and light therapy, the latter of which I am interested in. In Light Therapy, “you sit a few feet from a special light therapy box so that you are exposed to bright light. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood. It generally starts working in a few days to two weeks and causes few side effects.”
The problem for me is the cost. The boxes and lamps cost $200 and up, not exactly in my budget. But is it worth it to get out from under my winter depression?
Do you have a light therapy box or lamp? Has it worked for you?