UV light therapy for winter blues

Researchers have invented a light therapy that may help you combat winter blues. A Swedish company is working to provide light ‘boxes’ in the country to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD during the dark winter.

The company has already installed ultraviolet lights at 30 bus stops to combat the effects of SAD, ‘ABC News’ reported.

The standard treatment for SAD is 30 minutes of 10,000-lux, diffused, white fluorescent light, used early in the morning. About half the patients are helped quickly - and when treatment is tailored to a person’s individual wake-sleep cycle, remission can climb to 80 per cent, Michael Terman, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University and a leader in the field said. “We wanted to celebrate the fact that all our electricity comes from green sources and we wanted to do this in a way that contributed to the citizens in one way or another,” said Umea Energi marketing chief Anna Norrgard.

SAD affects 62 million Americans, according to Terman. About 5 per cent of the population experiences the most severe symptoms of SAD-depression and hopelessness-while another 15 per cent have the so-called “ winter blues” or “winter doldrums”. The vast majority never fall into full depression, according to Terman, but “plod through winters with slowness and gloominess that takes effort to hide from others”.

Two decades ago, the National Institute of Mental Health identified SAD as a legitimate disorder. Since then, the treatment of choice has been light therapy.

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