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Depression Support Center Depression Support Center

Light Boxes for SAD

Posted by on Sep. 28, 2013 at 11:17 PM
  • 11 Replies

From the Mayo Clinic site, I found these questions pertaining to a light box. I have often thought of looking into getting one, but I never knew for sure what to look for. I thought they also came in the form of a floor lamp.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/DN00013/NSECTIONGROUP=2

Here are some questions to think about when buying a light box for seasonal affective disorder (SAD):

  • Is the light box made specifically to treat SAD? If not, it may not help your depression. Some light therapy lamps are designed for skin disorders - not SAD or depression. The light boxes that treat skin disorders emit more ultraviolet (UV) light than the boxes that treat SAD, and they could damage your eyes if used incorrectly.
  • How bright is it? Brighter boxes will require less time to use each day, compared with dimmer boxes, to achieve the same effect. Look for a light box that provides the right intensity of light at a comfortable distance - ask your health care provider for recommendations.
  • How much UV light does it release? Light boxes for SAD should be designed to filter out most UV light. Look for a light box that emits as little UV light as possible. Contact the manufacturer for safety information if you have questions.
  • Does it use LEDs? Traditionally, light boxes have used fluorescent or incandescent lights. Some manufacturers now sell light boxes with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
  • Does it emit blue light? Typically, light boxes use white light, but some light boxes give off blue light with a shorter wavelength. There is much more research available to support the use of bright white light to treat SAD than there is for blue light.
  • Can it cause eye damage? Although eye damage from using a light box is uncommon, blue light may pose a greater risk of harming your eyes than white light does. Check with the manufacturer if you have concerns about light box safety.
  • Is it the style you need? Some light boxes look like upright lamps, while others are small and rectangular. You can even buy a battery-powered light therapy device attached to a visor, but it isn't clear yet whether this type of light works as well as a standard light box. Because the effectiveness of a light box depends on daily use, it's important to buy one that is convenient for you.
  • Can you put it in the right location? Think about where you'll want to place your light box. Keep in mind that most boxes need to be within 2 feet (61 centimeters) of you.
  • Does your doctor recommend it? Talk to your health care professional about light box options. Doctors recommend that you be under the care of a health care provider while using light box therapy. If you are experiencing both SAD and bipolar disorder, the advisability and timing of using a light box should be carefully reviewed with your doctor.

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    by on Sep. 28, 2013 at 11:17 PM
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    Replies (1-10):
    matreshka
    by Ruby Member on Sep. 29, 2013 at 7:26 AM
    thanks for sharing. I am thinking of getting a light box myself.
    Posted on CafeMom Mobile
    Tracys2
    by on Sep. 29, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Yup, me too. I know people who like the blue ones, and was surprised they had a higher (instead of lower) risk of eye damage

    deltathree
    by Gold Member on Sep. 29, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Good post - thought of using  it before.....

    Kathy489
    by Bronze Member on Sep. 29, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I'm still confused. Is it a special lamp that you sit under for a certain amount of time, and then you shut it off? Or is it like a regular lamp that you use in your livingroom for the evening like any other lamp?

    dizzy77702
    by Silver Member on Sep. 29, 2013 at 3:04 PM
    1 mom liked this
    My limited understanding of light boxes is that you sit under them for a period of time and then turn them off when you aren't using them. They are not used like a traditional light source like a lamp. It would be like going outside for twenty minutes and sitting in the sun. I hope that helps. I've also considered using one bc along with the bipolar disorder I feel I have sad bc my depression typically worsens when the seasons change. Winter is my toughest time of year.


    Quoting Kathy489:

    I'm still confused. Is it a special lamp that you sit under for a certain amount of time, and then you shut it off? Or is it like a regular lamp that you use in your livingroom for the evening like any other lamp?


    lucy164
    by Peggy on Sep. 30, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Very good to know.  I don't know if my vertical light box is blue or white light.  Who should I ask?  Mine was made in China.  I love that idea about the battery operated one for your car.  I had never heard of that before.  Thanks for the info.  I this I will only buy the ones made in USA.

    DysphoniaBec
    by Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    DH has sad and I've bought a couple of the Full Spectrum  27 Watt Desk Lamps.  The box says it "simulates natures' own sunlight, produces glare-free reading light, reduces eye strain, has flexible gooseneck, is energy efficient, and has a 10,000 hours life."  I bought mine at Big Lots.  If you are a member of Big Lots Buzz Rewards Club, they have 20% off on several Saturdays a year.  Also, after so many purchases, you can "earn" 20% off your next purchase.  They also have a floor lamp version.  I've seen them in catalogs like Harriet Carter and Carol Wright.

    Kathy489
    by Bronze Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

     This is the kind of lamp I was thinking of. Have you seen a difference in your husband? Do you both think it works?


    Quoting DysphoniaBec:

    DH has sad and I've bought a couple of the Full Spectrum  27 Watt Desk Lamps.  The box says it "simulates natures' own sunlight, produces glare-free reading light, reduces eye strain, has flexible gooseneck, is energy efficient, and has a 10,000 hours life."  I bought mine at Big Lots.  If you are a member of Big Lots Buzz Rewards Club, they have 20% off on several Saturdays a year.  Also, after so many purchases, you can "earn" 20% off your next purchase.  They also have a floor lamp version.  I've seen them in catalogs like Harriet Carter and Carol Wright.


     

    DysphoniaBec
    by Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM

     I've used it to work jigsaw puzzles.  The only place he sits with any regularity is at the dining table.  He does have one by his side of the bed he uses when he needs light.


    Quoting Kathy489:

     This is the kind of lamp I was thinking of. Have you seen a difference in your husband? Do you both think it works?

     


     

     

    Kathy489
    by Bronze Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 5:25 PM

     

    Ok, sorry.  I meant mood-wise. Do you see where it improves the depression?

    Quoting DysphoniaBec:

     I've used it to work jigsaw puzzles.  The only place he sits with any regularity is at the dining table.  He does have one by his side of the bed he uses when he needs light.

     

    Quoting Kathy489:

     This is the kind of lamp I was thinking of. Have you seen a difference in your husband? Do you both think it works?

     


     

     


     

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