Two years ago I was diagnosed with a mild case of seasonal affective disorder, appropriately and almost humorously nicknamed SAD. This condition is the feeling of depression brought on in certain times of the year, most common in the winter or fall when there are less hours in the day. The way I fixed my depression symptoms was through light therapy. This therapy affects brain chemicals that are related to mood, eliminating the symptoms of depression. Here are some of the pros and cons of this form of treatment for seasonal affective disorder.
1. Always There– The light box treatment method is great because it’s always there when I need it or when I’m at my worst. With other methods of treating depression like medication there is almost always a time frame of waiting before receiving any relief from your situation.
2. Longevity– The length of life on a standard SAD treatment system is amazingly long if well cared for. I’ve had my light for almost three years and it still works just as good as the day I purchased it.
3. No Medications– Because of past bad experiences with prescribed medications I tend to look for more all natural cures to treat and maintain my health. This system, while effective, requires no intake of unnatural chemicals or products.
4. Safe– While it does not apply to me, pregnancy while using this treatment is perfectly safe and acceptable. Many medications are off limits to pregnant women and this is a great alternative to that form of treatment.
5. No Insurance– At the time I found out about light therapy to treat my SAD I didn’t have medical coverage or a well paying job that would cover both my medical expenses and living situation. This was a great option because I was able to afford it on my low salary and it was a one time purchase.
6. Range of Uses– Light therapy treats a variety of ailments. Other than SAD it has also been shown to help OCD, premenstrual-compulsive disorder, postpartum depression, and some types of insomnia. As I also had insomnia, I was intrigued to find that this therapy could help treat more than my depression.
1. Bi Polar Mania– Light therapy may cause episodes of mania in some patients. Some people with severe forms of depression have reported increased thoughts of suicide after receiving the treatment.
2. Nausea– One of the weirdest things I felt the first few times treating myself with this device was a feeling of deep nausea like I had never felt before. The only comparison I have to describe it is the way you feel when you wake up from a dream where you were falling in a black hole. After about five sessions these sensations stopped.
3. Other Medications– Some prescribed medications can react badly to direct sunlight such as certain antibiotics, anti-inflamattories, and joint medication. For this reason it could be a bad choice for anyone taking any of these medications.
4. Eye Damage– Certain conditions could make a person more susceptible to receiving decreased or blurry vision after treating with a light therapy system. Luckily, my eyes were in perfect condition and suffered no ill effects.
For me the pros outweighs the cons on this form of treatment for seasonal affective disorder. The cost is one time, the treatment is simple, and it can be done any time of day whenever needed. This treatment helped reduce my depression a great deal. If you suffer from SAD or one of the other listed conditions check out a light therapy system for relief.
Mayo Clinic- Tests & Procedures: Light Therapy
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