For those with winter depression, the rainy Northwest can be a tough place to live
But at OHSU, we have an expert with knowledge of how to chase away the November Blues. He is Dr. Alfred Lewy and his research was featured in a recent Seattle Times article.
Here’s an excerpt:
For the millions of Americans who suffer from mild to severe winter blues — a condition called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD — bright-light therapy is the treatment of choice, with response rates comparable with those of antidepressants. “Your natural clock is usually longer than 24 hours, and you need light in the morning to set it and keep it on track,” said Dr. Alfred Lewy, a professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University and an expert on seasonal depression and light therapy.
Yet many experts think light therapy is underused, given its affordability and relative lack of side effects, in large part because there is little profit to be made from it and no commercial incentive to promote the treatment.
Patients generally sit in front of the light box during the morning. The box can be as small as 9 by 11 inches and 5 inches deep, with the bright light emanating from the square surface. “With the natural dawn being later in winter, the body rhythms drift late,” Lewy said. “If you can fix the drift, you can fix the depression.”
For those who are interested, some more information on Dr. Lewy and his research.