Primary treatments for SAD include: antidepressants, light therapy and psychotherapy. Many times a combination of these treatments are used.. Light Therapy Light Therapy is the use of full spectrum light during the fall and winter months. These lights are readily available without a prescription. They can be purchased online for under $50 and can you may be able to use a Health Savings Account with a prescription from your provider.
Light therapy is a nonpharmacological approach that has been studied and shown to have positive effect.
Three key elements for effectiveness in Light Therapy
Light therapy is most effective when you have the proper combination of light intensity, duration and timing.
In addition, we encourage patients to incorporate all of the following adjunctive interventions throughout their entire course of acute (and maintenance) treatment:
• Sleep only as much as you need to feel rested and then get out of bed
• Keep a regular schedule
• Do not try to sleep unless you feel sleepy
• Exercise regularly, preferably at least 4 to 5 hours before bedtime
• Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch
• Avoid alcohol near bedtime: no “night cap”
• Avoid smoking, especially in the evening
• Do not go to bed hungry
• Make the bedroom environment conducive to sleep
• Avoid prolonged used of light-emitting screens before bedtime
• Deal with your worries before bedtime
●Daily walks outside, even on cloudy days
●Enhanced indoor lighting with regular lamps and fixtures Patients with winter depression who receive bright light therapy usually respond within one to four weeks of starting treatment.
Maryann Ryan,NPP is a psychiatric nurse practitioner working in her private practice in Warwick NY. Knowledge is Power and we look to provide information that is accurate and timely for those with mental health issues and their families.