Sun lamps: effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

…or pseudoscientific horse-puckey? Anyone know one way or another? Is SAD even a real, described disorder, or what? Will the ol’ Scandinavian sun-lamp miracle cure give one a sunnier outlook?

Any help is appreciated.


As I understand it, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression apparently linked to hibernation, of all things.

The low sunlight levels of the winter months triggers some kind of fossil instinct to gear down the body and mind for low energy existence.

Apparently, just placing yourself in an increased intensity lighted environment puts you back into “summer mode”.

A friend of mine suffers from this and believe me, it’s real. She uses a sun lamp and says it makes a big difference. She also did kind of a unique thing with her livingroom lighting. Her walls were white and she strung those outdoor icicle lights all around the tops of the walls. It looked really cool and made the room very bright.

We covered it in my Psych classes. I don’t know if it’s a real, medical kinda problem, but it is something psychologists recognize. And bright lights ARE supposed to help with it. So is serotonin, if I recall correctly.

Thanks for the help, y’all. Looks like I may invest in one after all. I don’t get Kathy-Bates-Misery blue, but I despise winter light all the same.

There is a ton of stuff to be found on a google. One surprisingly good source is actually a Yahoo Group:

I’ve been looking into this as well. Now my question is: Do I have to buy one of those special SAD light boxes for $200-$400? Or can I get away with getting a 1000watt halogen shop light on a stand for $60 (and get dual use out of it)?

They say recent studies show you don’t need full spectrum, just really bright light. (10000 lux). So, how many lux do you get out of one of those shop lights if you are around 3 feet away or so?

Anyone have a big shop light, a light meter and some time to kill?