Health Beat

Health Beat: Feeling SAD? There's a treatment for that

Health Beat: Feeling SAD? There's a treatment for that

CHICAGO - It's dark, gloomy and cold outside. If the weather has you feeling down, you might have seasonal affective disorder, or what's commonly known as "SAD," but the good news is there are ways to help. The first is light therapy.

"It's a bright light that would be applied for one hour at normal waking time," said John Burns, a professor at Rush University in Chicago.

Studies show it can benefit up to half of people with SAD. The bright light mimics natural sunlight and increases serotonin levels in your body.

"Light boxes are already commercially available because of the research in the seasonal affective disorder, and they are cheap," Burns continued.

You can find a light box online for less than $100. Also, a type of therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy can help people with SAD find relief. It helps patients identify and change their negative thoughts.

Another remedy is exercise. A review in the American College of Sports Medicine Journal found that exercise might be comparable to therapy or anti-depressant medicines for depression.

And lastly, try taking a vacation to a sunny climate during cold months to boost your mood.

Of course, another option for SAD is using antidepressant medicines. The FDA has approved Wellbutrin for treating people with SAD.

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