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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Light Therapy

As fall and winter begin in the upper Midwest, we are often asked about  SAD lighting.  There are many products on the market making all different kinds of claims.  Since these products are  not approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, it can be challenging to figure out which will work best for your particular needs.   That’s why it’s important to understand your options before you choose one.  Mayo clinic has provided some guidlines for shopping for these products:

How bright is it? Some light boxes are brighter than others — which means you need to use them for less time each day than dimmer light boxes to achieve the same effect. Look for a light box that provides the right intensity of light when you’re a comfortable distance away. For example, it may be effective to use a light box that produces 10,000 lux (a measurement of light intensity) 12 to 14 inches (30.5 to 35.6 centimeters) from you for 30 minutes each morning. However, using a box that produces 2,500 lux at the same distance may take two hours or more to achieve the same effect.

Can it be positioned appropriately? Think about where you’ll want to place your light box. Keep in mind, most light boxes need to be positioned within 2 feet (61 centimeters) of you. Make sure the light box you choose can be positioned appropriately.

Does your doctor recommend it? Before you purchase a light box, talk to your doctor, mental health provider or pharmacist. Ask about the light box you’re thinking about buying. He or she may offer additional guidance or tips to make sure that treatment with a light box is safe and as effective as possible for you.

To read the full article from Mayo clinic: click here




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