A SAD light box may be used to treat seasonal affective disorder, an ailment afflicting some people that causes them to develop depression every winter season.  When spring time comes, the symptoms, however, miraculously disappear.  Light therapy involves spending some time everyday just to sit in front of a bright light that is specially intended for the purpose.  It is proven to be effective in most seasonal affective disorder (SAD) cases.  Antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapies that are known to work for other depression types may also work for SAD.

Here is a popular list of SAD Light Boxes that are being sold at Amazon.com.  They also have many consumer reviews you can read as well.

Verilux HappyLite Deluxe Sunshine Simulator

Verilux HappyLite Deluxe Sunshine Simulator – Click to see more info

Philips goLITE BLU Plus Light Therapy Device

Philips goLITE BLU Plus Light Therapy Device – Click to see more info

Litebook Elite Hand-Held Light Therapy Device

Litebook Elite Hand-Held Light Therapy Device – Click to see more info

Causes of SAD

Currently, the exact cause of the disorder is not very clear although it is believed that the amount of sunlight directly affects the volume of nerve messages that the eyes can transmit to particular areas of the brain.  Some brain chemical and hormone levels are affected by the influence of sunlight on nerve message activity.  This process then causes mood changes in some people.  And with the less amount of sunlight associated with months during the winter, the chemical and hormonal imbalance usually cause depressions.

In countries north of the equator, the depression symptoms are usually triggered in the darker months of the year (September to November) and continue through March or April. The symptoms tend to be worse in the colder months of the year (December to February).  SAD symptoms are usually non-existent from May to August when sunlight is aplenty.

Genetics is also considered as a factor since there are cases when a tendency to develop the disorder is seen in some people with SAD history in the family.  Individuals with SAD have one in seven chances that a relative in the first degree such as a parent, sibling, or child is also afflicted with SAD.

SAD Light Box for the Treatment of SAD

Although there is no substitute for natural sunlight to address SAD issues, it is not always possible to get it.  Even during SAD-associated months, the limited sunlight still provides better lux than artificial light sources.  Taking a walk outdoors for a couple of hours a day or anytime there is an opportunity may help improve the condition.

Light therapy is perhaps the best alternative when natural sunlight is not available.  The treatment will require the patient to sit before a SAD light box for some time everyday depending on the treatment time recommended by the therapeutic product manufacturer.  The required light intensity, measured in lux, cannot be provided by ordinary light sources. At least 2500 lux is needed for treatment, and this is about 10x the potency of an ordinary light bulb.

The therapeutic light boxes come in various sizes and shapes.  The most common of is a desktop-type that measures approximately the size of an A4 bond paper.  The idea is to simulate the effects of sunlight.  It is not necessary to look directly into the light.  Sitting two to three feet away from the SAD light box regularly is enough to achieve the desired benefits; and this should be done ideally before the symptoms start or as soon as they appear.

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