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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Consultants' Corner: Volume 01, Issue 04

Well, it is another rainy and snowy day at the JAN office. Have you ever dreaded your five-day weather forecast because the meteorologist says it is going to be cloudy with showers and flurries and the UV index reaching only one? Just check If you have been feeling "down" and "not quite yourself" during the winter months, you may be experiencing the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is exacerbated by gray overcast skies and poor indoor lighting. Some common symptoms of SAD are:

  • Oversleeping;
  • Fatigue;
  • Feeling lethargic;
  • Irritability and stress intolerance; and
  • Lack of interest in daily activities, sex, or social interactions.

Treatment for SAD usually involves  light therapy. Light therapy is exposure to high intensity bright lights, typically referred to as light or sun boxes. An individual spends a period of time each day exposed to this light, and treatment can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours per day. Many of these light boxes are portable and can be placed on a desk or table in the work environment.

Four basic light products are available to accommodate workers with SAD:

  • Sun Boxes and Lights: These are rectangular light fixtures that have several fluorescent tubes that produce between 5,000 and 10,000 lux and come in many different sizes and styles.
  • Light Visors: These are head-mounted light sources that resembling tennis visors and are good choices for people who do not have sedentary jobs or need to be mobile during the day.
  • Sun Simulating Desk Lamps: These resemble typical office lamps.
  • Dawn Simulators: These are devices that mimic natural sunrises by gradually brightening rooms over programmed periods of time.
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