Got the winter blues? Let there be light
Dr. Carl Hindy, a psychologist, uses a light therapy lamp at his desk in his Nashua office. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
If so, you’re not alone.
The bone-chilling temperatures and relentless snowstorms that have plagued New England are taking a toll on even the hardiest Granite Staters.
Seasonal depression is real, and this year it’s bad, according to local therapists on the front lines of this personal battle with Mother Nature.
Seasonal depression tends to worsen during the fall and peak in the winter months. It improves in the spring and summer.
Provided by UNH Health Services, the light therapy can be an effective way to beat the blues.
Users can schedule sessions lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours with a light box. Those seeking the treatment sit with their eyes open and read, write, or simply relax.
The university has seen more students taking light therapy this winter. Not all have been diagnosed with SAD, according to Kathleen Grace-Bishop, director of education and promotion at UNH Health Services.
“I think for everyone it’s different,” she said. “For some they find it very useful.”
People who suffer from SAD experience lower serotonin levels while melatonin levels are higher. Hindy said serotonin is a neurotransmitter; low levels are commonly associated with depression.
Though it’s hard to quantify, Hindy said the “quasi-hibernation” many people experience in the winter could be a contributing factor.
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