Light therapy for winter depression

If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, you don't need to wait for longer days to get some relief.

Most of us welcome the sun's effect on our mood, especially after a stretch of gray days. But for some people, reduced daylight during fall and winter months can bring on full-blown depression. For them, bright sunlight may represent more than a nice change in the weather: It can have therapeutic benefits. Exposure to the right kind of light, whether indoors or out, is the first-line therapy for alleviating the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

SAD is a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern, almost always worsening during the darker winter months and returning every year at roughly the same time. It's also known as "winter depression" or "winter blues." Though there's some evidence of a spring-summer pattern of depression, SAD is most commonly a fall-winter disorder.

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