Mental Health During Winter Months

A sad face drawn in a frosted car window.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), an onset of depressive symptoms during winter months, affects an estimate of .4%-2.9% of the population. The causes of SAD are still unclear, however everything from genetics to diminished light may play a factor. While its seasonal nature means SAD symptoms abate in the Spring, that doesn’t mean you have to slog through the winter with symptoms like loss of interest, hypersomnia, or irritability. There are many treatments available, from light therapy to antidepressants.

Pjrek et al. (2019) conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials exploring the efficacy of bright light therapy (BLT) as a treatment for SAD. Their review found that these trials proved BLT an effective treatment for SAD, though these trials included smaller sample sizes and larger clinical trials would be preferable.

If you want to try BLT at home, The Cut published a list of the 6 best light therapy lamps available on Amazon. They range in price from $65 to $230 for a large floor lamp. The Strategist from New York Magazine also published their list of recommendations, and it includes two pairs of light therapy glasses! Light therapy glasses work just like light therapy lamps, but are more compact and portable.

Did you know? Light therapy can also help with morning drowsiness and even relieve jet lag symptoms.

Image Source: McCasland, J. (2013). Battling the winter blues [online image]. Retrieved December 11, 2019 from https://www.barksdale.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2000887742/

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