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Dealing with the winter blues

Why many people feel depressed during the cold, winter months

Opinion Editor

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 12:02

Through the idea of the melatonin model was the creation of a light box used as light therapy for those who need a supply of light when the sun is unavailable.

Most light therapy devices are made of fluorescent light bulbs. Each light box can transmit different amounts of light. Some may range from an intensity of 2,500 lux (a unit of illuminance), and other light boxes can emit 10,000 lux of light. The more lux the box can produce, the higher amount of therapy will be achieved.

But the amount of necessary therapy depends on the person. Johnson noted that students are more likely to use the light therapy regularly. For it to work effectively, people need to use it daily. She also said most students will set up the light in the morning before class, and some may study with it on in front of them. It will typically last them the rest of the day. Johnson added if the student feels like they need to use it again, most will use treatment for another 15 minutes for an extra boost for the day.

Snowball has seen many different kinds of light therapy boxes. Some are large while others are portable and small enough to put on a desk while studying. This is especially convenient for students.

Another treatment many psychologists recommend are anti-depressants, but sometimes the best way to help someone with SAD is encouragement. Because the person with SAD is depressed, it is hard for them to go out and be in public. Snowball explained one of the ways he gets students to self-medicate is by telling them to go outdoors, even if it is only for 20 minutes.

A few ways those who suffer from SAD can manage their depression are to eat a healthy diet, practice good sleeping habits, exercise more and learn how to look for early signs of their depression getting worse. Using all or any of these methods along with either treatment should get the person with SAD to a better state of mind and physicality.

Although SAD was not examined until the 1980s, research shows this to be a true clinical depression experienced by a substantial number of people around the world. When people do not get enough sunlight their attitudes toward everyday life can be tremendously affected in the same way people with any other kind of depression are affected.

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