Author: Ezra Melvin
Since we are in the midst of the dark, cold winter months, I thought it would be prudent to discuss a particular disorder which affects a not-insignificant portion of the population: Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. SAD. That’s right – we can’t make that stuff up. The prevalence of SAD is also dependent upon one’s geographic location – those in the sunny climes of Florida are far less likely to experience the disorder than those individuals in the northern wastelands of Alaska. But, regardless of where you might live, if you are affected by SAD then it does not matter. Firstly, let’s take a look at the symptoms of SAD and how they manifest themselves in individuals. After that, we’ll take a look at how SAD is diagnosed and a few of the different treatment options that you can implement from the comfort of your own home. Hint: These treatment options may or may not involve very bright lamps.
The Symptoms of SAD
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder appear to be very diverse. In general, individuals suffering from SAD tend to experience the following sorts of symptoms: Major difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning (but, hey, who doesn’t have difficulty with that??), a sustained pattern of over-sleeping and over-eating, weight gain due to cravings for high-calorie foods, difficulty concentrating, lack of ability to focus, major depressive feelings, depression, and anxiety. Given our focus on this site on anxiety, we want to focus in particular on that last symptom. But, before we go any further, we first need to see how SAD is diagnosed.
How SAD Is Diagnosed
An official diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder requires that you visit a doctor or other healthcare provider and go through a checkup. During the checkup, the doctor will run through a diagnostic battery to determine if you are indeed suffering from SAD. Blood tests and other diagnostics may also be run to rule out the possibility of other pathologies. In general, there are four criteria which are used to qualify the diagnosis of SAD in a patient:
- The episodes of depression are dependent upon the time of the year and are consistent from year to year
- Remissions occur consistently based on the time of the year
- The patterns of occurrence and remission have continued for two years with no other depressive episodes, and
- The number of depressive episodes that occur based on season largely outnumber any other instance of depressive episodes throughout your lifetime
Naturally, not all doctors will diagnose SAD in the same way that we have listed above. However, this list should give you a general idea of how it is diagnosed and differentiated from other diagnosis variants.
How Can You Treat SAD at Home?
While there are numerous different dreams options out there, not all of them are capable of being administered in the comfort of your own home. As you might imagine from the title of this article, we want to focus on a very specific kind of treatment: full spectrum laps. Light therapy is a well-known and scientifically well-regarded way for treating and managing SAD symptoms. The number of lumens (that is, the amount of light being emitted by the source) emitted by these lamps far outstrips the incandescent and fluorescent bulbs you may have around the house. The purpose of these lamps, in essence, is to simulate the full spectrum of visible light that is emitted by such sources as our near by star – the sun. By doing so, you can “trick” your body into believing that it is being exposed to natural sunlight, and thus ward off the effects of SAD. Light therapy is a proven and scientifically durable therapy, so it makes a lot of sense to implement this kind of treatment at home. Preferably in a comfy chair.
Full Spectrum Lamps for SAD
To that end, we need to take a look at some of the products that are out there on the market already. You can find full spectrum lamps for sale all over the Internet, but here I have listed a link to a product on Amazon which is well-regarded by customers, affordable, and easy to set up at home. And here it is:
Sunlight Desk Lamp Natural Full Spectrum Sun Light
After perusing Amazon for various full spectrum lamps, I came across this one in particular. It looks like it would be great as a reading lamp, and very capable as a regular office lamp with therapeutic qualities. It is also very affordable. Have a look at it by clicking on the link below if you’re interested!