Thanks Thanks:  23
Likes Likes:  22
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    34,948
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues
    January 9, 2005
    By E.J. Mundell, HealthDay

    SUNDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDayNews) -- Few people relish the cold, short days of winter.

    For many, there's good reason: Experts believe that about one in five Americans suffers from either mild or severe forms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can lead to depression, overeating, weight gain and fatigue.

    Fortunately, this is one condition where drugs aren't the best answer. A new study confirms that simply sitting next to a light-emitting box for a half-hour a day greatly reduces SAD symptoms.

    "Bright light treatment is definitely the treatment of choice for SAD," said lead researcher Randall Flory, a professor of psychology at Hollins University, in Roanoke, Va.

    Flory's study, presented at a recent meeting of the American Psychological Society, also found that room air ionizers -- which increase levels of negatively charged particles circulating in air -- can help ease the symptoms of SAD.

    According to Flory, about 14 percent of Americans admit to feeling "blah" during the winter months. "They have the lesser form of SAD, which we just call the 'winter blues,'" he said. "It's not as debilitating as full-blown SAD."

    Another 6 percent to 7 percent of people may experience full-blown SAD, which can include clinical depression, overeating and related weight gain (up to 40 pounds per season), excess sleep followed by daytime fatigue, a heightened sensitivity to pain, and social withdrawal.

    Premenopausal women are four times more likely to be affected by SAD than men, Flory said, suggesting links between SAD and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

    While popular antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have shown some effectiveness in treating SAD, non-medicinal methods are proving even more powerful, he said.

    In their study involving 140 women observed over five successive winters, the Roanoke researchers compared the effectiveness of two non-pharmaceutical treatments: 30 minutes per day of home exposure to light-emitting boxes, and air-cleaning devices that also produce negative ionization of airborne particles.

    Light boxes were the clear winner, Flory said, although the air ionizers were also somewhat effective. The results suggest that a combination of winter conditions -- fewer hours of strong sunlight, as well as weaker negative ionization of air -- work together to affect humans in a physiological way.

    "From previous studies, we know that just about everybody, whether they have SAD or not, shows lowered levels of serotonin in the brain in winter compared with summer," Flory said.

    SSRIs work by adjusting brain serotonin levels, so it makes sense that they fight SAD. But Flory believes most patients are better off using light boxes, since they have virtually no side effects and are much cheaper than prescription drugs over the long term.

    Use of a standard light box for five years works out to "about $60 per year," Flory noted, "compared to about $300 to $500 per year for Prozac or another of the SSRIs."

    Michael Young, a SAD expert and director of clinical training at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, agreed that "light boxes are certainly the most effective treatment" for seasonal depression.

    New variations on light boxes are giving patients more choices, he said, including devices called "dawn simulators." These devices -- hooked up to a bright light in the bedroom -- cause light to slowly grow in intensity during the early morning hours, much as it would on a spring day.

    "There's been less research done on dawn simulators compared to light boxes, but the research that is out there seems to have gotten positive results," said Young, who is also president of the non-profit Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms.

    He stressed that scientists still aren't sure why some individuals are more deeply affected by winter than others.

    "For example, there are many of us that have the physiological changes but not the psychological ones -- they'll say 'Yeah, winter is crummy, I sleep more, I want to eat sweets all the time, but, hey, that's the way it goes.' They aren't depressed."

    Others experience those physical signs, plus the debilitating depression that marks severe SAD. Young believes some people may simply be more neurologically vulnerable to season-to-season changes than others.

    For most, light boxes provide an easy, harmless solution, the experts agree.

    "You just sit three for a half hour a day, that's all it takes," Flory said. "It's not even necessary that it's there in front of you --- only that the light somehow enters your eye. In fact, when we do studies, the light box is over to the side while people watch a movie on television."

    More information
    To learn more about SAD, visit the National Mental Health Association.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    23
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    Oh goodness, yes. My lightbox is a lifeline through the winter, especially now I've moved north and the days are so much shorter. If you make it something routine, you won't even think about it after a couple of weeks and the results are *dramatic*. At least, they are for me, and I suffer severely from SAD.

    (They also make excellent make-up lights. I use mine while I'm doing my hair and make-up in the morning and it's much better than your average lightbulb, and more convenient than natural light.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    34,948
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    They also make excellent make-up lights.
    LOL! Only a woman would think of that.

    On the other hand, a man might point it to a solar cell and hook up a power screwdriver to it...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    the Twin Cities
    Posts
    150
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    I had one of these prescribed for me and I've just been waiting for it get cleared for me to pick it up.


    Last Winter - the first Winter I was sober all the way through - was the darkest (figuratively) of my adult life. I felt like I was in the darkest place ever, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Despite having been sober the whole way through. And now that my best friend and father has died last May, I'm already terrified of whether I'll even get through this Winter. We literally skipped right over Spring here in MN so it's been bad. I also don't know if this Prozac crap is good for me or not - I was very depressed last night at work. I was reading articles on suicides on SSRIs like Prozac (particularly combat veterans on that) and it's very problematic.


    Anyway, I am going to get one of these lights and I really do hope they make a marked difference for me. There is nothing really holding me in MN anymore and I do have family (that I have no relation to) in Florida, so there is nothing to stop me (aside from my janitorial work) from really getting up and going South, but I HATE humidity and I have heard electric bills in the South are quite expensive to pay for air conditioning.


    I guess I am damned if I do, damned if I don't. I just hope one of these light boxes can really be helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    6,313
    Mentioned
    23 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    The lights do work i know several people who use them and they have said how much they have them so i do hope you can get one soon Roy H.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    12,806
    Mentioned
    42 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    but I HATE humidity
    In Miami, it's not as bad since the horrible traffic distracts you from the swamp/sauna experience. (The weather near the beach/coast is nice though since you get ocean breezes.) Florida also has a lot of swimming pools, which is what I miss the most.
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Winnipeg, MB
    Posts
    1,500
    Mentioned
    74 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    Florida also has a lot of swimming pools, which is what I miss the most.
    As long as you have no objection to sharing it with gators

    alligator-1-0505.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    the Twin Cities
    Posts
    150
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    I got the light and immediately I thought it was working but who knows. I just took it out of the box and fired it up today so obviously it's way premature to say if it will be effective for me.


    Regarding Florida, I plan on being homeless down the road. It might be a while - I might even live to see those days - but I plan on being on the street. I have a small (immediate) family and I have no real (sober) friends so I don't know, I might get rid of all my stuff and buy a RN and go down there and live in it until I lose it or whatever.


    I don't know. There is homeless communities in all major cities and Minneapolis is no different and I know the lay of the land so I might just go on the streets here down the road.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Winnipeg, MB
    Posts
    1,500
    Mentioned
    74 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    I suggest you rethink your plans regarding homelessness. It’s not the lifestyle portrayed in some movies.
    Its an addiction based extremely violent lifestyle you’re better off on social assistance. I don’t think getting beaten to death or worse yet surviving the beatings is something you would enjoy. Some get killed for a couple dollars or not sharing a bottle etc. It’s worse than being in prison. Although the legal system technically prevails across our countries I can guarantee you that In the street it’s like In the jungle. survival of the strongest. No if buts or ors.

    if you have some winter vacation time coming try it (not partiality but fully) and you’ll réalisé that your problems with social interactions will be amplified. To have even a basic chance of survival on the streets you need expert social and manipulative skills. This is something you have stated is a big issue for you.

    i could go on and on but will leave it at that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    12,806
    Mentioned
    42 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Light Boxes Help Lift the Winter Blues

    Yeah, maybe focus more on positive (less dramatic) things like refinancing your mortgage or focusing on a career path. (Addiction and mental health counselors make decent money, at least enough to avoid being homeless.)
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Disclaimer: PsychLinks is not responsible for the content of posts or comments by forum members.

Additional Forum Web Design by PsychLinks
© All rights reserved.