Light Box?

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?

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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2 Responses to Light Box?

  1. Ron Graves says:

    Like almost all products aimed at the disabled community anti-SAD lightboxes cost very much more than they are actually worth

    Here in Britain, so I suppose probably in the US too, we have compact fluorescent light “bulbs” that mimic the spectrum of normal daylight in much the same way as lightboxes, but without the cost.

    I don’t suffer from SAD myself (though I’m frequently plagued by depression), so I can’t speak for their efficacy, but as they cost much the same as normal CFL bulbs (I once bought some in error but found their light rather harsh), they might be worth a try.
    Ron Graves´s last blog post ..Surgical appointment…

  2. mamasick says:

    I’ve heard good things about the light boxes, Ron, but wonder why they have to be so expensive. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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