Treatment
 
 
Light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 per cent of diagnosed cases
 
Treatment using 10,000 lux light boxes can take as little as 30 - 60 minutes a day
 
 
Normal domestic or office lighting (200-500 lux) is much too low to treat SAD
 
Most modern light boxes allow you to receive 10,000 lux and treatment will usually take at least 30 mins - 1 hour a day at the appropriate distance
 
 
Light treatment should be used daily in winter (and dull periods in summer)
 
Start in early autumn preferably before the first symptoms appear
 
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions
 
 
It is fine to carry out normal activity such as reading, working, eating etc. while sitting in front of the box
 
There is no need to stare directly at it as long as light enters the eye
 
 
Treatment is usually effective within three or four days and the effect continues provided it is used every day
 
Do not wear tinted lenses, or any device that blocks the light to the retina of the eye
 
 
Light boxes are not available on the NHS and have to be bought from specialist retailers
 
They are free of VAT when used for medical purposes
 
Always choose a box that is medically approved for the treatment of SAD as they are rigorously tested
 
SADA recommends "trying before buying"
 
 
ANTI-DEPRESSANT DRUGS
 
The established non-sedative SSRI drugs such as sertraline (Lustral), paroxetine (Seroxat) and
 
fluoxetine (Prozac) are all effective, as are the newer citalopram (Cipramil) and escitalopram (Cipralex)
 
They alleviate the depressive symptoms of SAD and combine well with light therapy
 
Read NHS-accredited information on SSRIs (opens in a new window)
 
 
COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES
 
Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Counselling may help the sufferer to manage SAD
 
Complementary therapies and meditation which help relaxation and acceptance of the illness are also useful
 
Read NHS-accredited information on counselling (opens in a new window)
 
Read NHS advice on healthy living (opens in a new window)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association
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