When used correctly, the treatment can take effect within a week.
However, even for those who try it, it’s not a guarantee.
But treatment — even light therapy, which doesn’t require a prescription — should be discussed with a doctor, Roecklein says.
“The reason is that light has similar effects in the brain as medication, and surely no one would start antidepressant medication treatment for depression without a doctor, even if their symptoms were less severe.”Sticking to a daily routine of sitting near a light for a certain amount of time probably isn’t for everyone. Thankfully, other treatment options exist for SAD, including anti-depression medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
When it gets darker earlier, our bodies produce more melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, which can throw off circadian rhythms, leaving people feeling more tired than usual.”Certain people are more likely to experience SAD: those who live closer to the poles than in climates with less seasonal change; those with a family history of depression and SAD; women, who are four times more likely to report having SAD than men; and children and teens.
The use of light therapy to treat SAD is relatively new.
Vitamin D, though popular among those who experience SAD, has had inconclusive research results as a form of treatment compared to light therapy, Roecklein says.
“People with SAD often have low levels of Vitamin D, which could be caused either by lack of sun exposure or by not getting enough of it in their diet.
Inman has been using light therapy successfully for years, but she was skeptical at first.
“I read about light therapy online during the fall of my junior year of college, but I didn’t initially purchase one because they were expensive to me, and I was not sure if they worked in the first place or if it was some sort of pseudo-science fad or placebo,” she says.