Light therapy can be used in the case of seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder, winter depression or also winter blues in its lightest form, is what we think of when we talk about light therapy. Depression affects above all people located in zones geographically far from the equator (so, above all in the northern hemisphere), where the effect of the change in seasons is more important. It varies from 2-3% in Spain to 15-20% in the north of Scandinavia. The most affected people are women (up to 75%) from 35 years and up.
Causes of seasonal depression
Unlike non-seasonal depressions, seasonal depression is not linked to a psychological problem but is a simple hormonal response of over-sensitivity to the decrease in light at the arrival of autumn.
Symptoms of winter blues
The most common symptoms of seasonal depression are :
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Difficulty in getting up
- Desire to sleep
- Decrease in libido
- Increase in appetite (desire in sugary foods)
- Desire to stay at home
Unlike severe depression (non-seasonal depression), these symptoms are not felt all year, but occur at the beginning of autumn and disappear when spring returns. These are all the more important for people who work in places with little light (underground, etc.) or who do not go out a lot.
Treatment of seasonal depression
Since 2005, it has been recognized by the American psychiatry association that light therapy is the most effective therapeutic means to treat winter blues.
Discover how light therapy treats seasonal depression
with Roland Pec - Sleep specialist and chrono-therapist