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Light Therapy in NYC

As winter is approaching, and the days get shorter, you know what is coming—seasonal depression. But in all seriousness, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is very common among New Yorkers. The good news is, there is something you can do about it, which involves Light Therapy.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that usually occurs during winter. If you have had SAD, then you know it usually occurs during cycles: starting in winter, continuing through early spring, and ending during the sunnier days of spring or early summer. What happens is the changes in daylight hours and the lack of sunlight can switch up your hormones and affect your circadian rhythms, making you feel depressed.

Common symptoms of SAD include:

  1. Fatigue or low energy
  2. Changes in weight including loss or gain
  3. Sleeping too much
  4. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  5. Difficulty thinking or making decisions
  6. Loss of interest in most activities
  7. Suicidal thoughts

What is Light Therapy? 

Also known as bright light therapy (BLT), light therapy is as simple as it sounds. It involves sitting next to a device called a light therapy box which gives off light designed to mimic natural outdoor light. 

Light therapy is most often associated with treating SAD, but can also be useful for treating major depression, eating disorders, bipolar depression, and ADHD in adults.

What are the benefits to Light Therapy? 

There are numerous studies that show light therapy is highly effective for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For example, 6 out of 10 patients recovered from their seasonal depression after just one month of using light therapy. Another study showed that 2 out of 3 people with mild SAD and 4 out of 10 people with severe SAD improved with light therapy. Finally, research shows that 8 out of 10 people will have reduction in their depressive symptoms with light therapy treatment. 

How does Light Therapy work? 

Our recommendations for light therapy: 

  1. Follow guidelines - sit near a lamp of 10,000 lux for 30 minutes every morning.
  2. Remember to use your lamp every day - effects can fade fast! Create a routine that works for you.
  3. Phototherapy is easy and relatively inexpensive - lamps can be ordered online and insurance may cover your cost.
  4. Remember that light therapy is NOT a replacement for proper medical or psychological care

If you’re interested in guidance on light therapy and comprehensive treatment, book an appointment here.

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