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How is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) treated?

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Photo: Flickr/Sander van der Wel

How is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) treated?

December 26, 2012

Q: What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and how is it treated?

A: SAD is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time each year, usually fall or winter. A common method of treatment is light therapy.

During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood, easing SAD symptoms. It is considered to be generally safe.

However, mild side effects can include headache, nausea, or eye strain. You should consult a doctor before undergoing light therapy, especially if you have a medical condition.

-- Answer provided by Dr. Olsen, a licensed clinical psychologist on JustAnswer.

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