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Roughly 6 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from severe symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and another 14 percent experience mild to moderate symptoms of this mental health condition. If you're among them, using a light therapy device could help to provide relief, as studies show as many as 70 percent of people experience a decline in symptoms of seasonal affective disorder with at-home light therapy. Walgreens has a number of systems available for your use at home.
Seasonal affective disorder is a mental health condition that may develop during the winter months. Doctors are still studying the condition to understand why it occurs, but the problem appears to be tied to the fact that the days are shorter during the wintertime. Many researchers speculate that decreases in sunlight may disrupt the body's inner clock and may cause changes in brain chemical levels, which could result in symptoms of the condition. Sometimes, people refer to seasonal affective disorder as "the winter blues," downplaying the profound impact that the condition can have on a person's life. The truth is that seasonal affective disorder is a legitimate problem that can cause severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, tiredness and hopelessness.
Light therapy is a simple solution for seasonal affective disorder that has been widely studied and verified by extensive research as beneficial for many people with the disorder. During a light therapy treatment, you sit under an artificial light that mimics natural sunlight. Some doctors believe that the artificial light may help to readjust the body's inner clock and may stimulate the production of brain chemicals that become deficient during the winter months. While light therapy can be performed in a clinical setting, such as in a doctor's office or hospital, treatments typically need to be performed daily for best results. Because of this, many people prefer to perform light therapy treatments at home using special lamps that mimic sunlight.
There are many types of light therapy devices available on the market today. Your doctor may provide you with a list of specific features to look for in a light therapy device, or he or she may simply recommend that you purchase a system of any type. You can find freestanding floor lamps, desk lamps and tabletop lamps for light therapy treatments. Some lights even include alarm clocks for use on the bedside table.
If you are suffering from symptoms of depression and believe that you have seasonal affective disorder, you should talk to your doctor before using a light therapy device. There could be other causes for your symptoms, so it is important that you receive a diagnosis from a medical professional before trying to self-treat. Keep in mind that light therapy is just one of the available treatments for seasonal affective disorder. Your physician may recommend that you undergo therapy or take a medication instead of using a light therapy device or in addition to using one. Be sure to follow your doctor's recommendations and to use your light therapy device as directed to ensure success with treatment.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.