A Light Therapy Lamp is now available at the Central Library. Visit the Information Desk on the first floor to find out more.
What is a light therapy lamp?
Light therapy lamps, or seasonal affective disorder (sad) lamps, mimic outdoor natural light. Late fall and winter months tend to lack sunshine, which can affect individuals in different ways — including lowering mood, lowering energy and over sleeping. Over time, these lights are intended to improve mood and overall sense of well-being in those affected.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder (sad) is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. It is believed that affected people react adversely to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures as the fall and winter progress. Less often, sad causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Symptoms of sad can include:
- Change in appetite, in particular a craving for sweet and starchy foods
- Weight gain
- Decreased energy
- Tendency to oversleep
- Difficulty concentrating
- Avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of anxiety and despair <end bulleted list>
Treatment for sad includes light therapy (phototherapy) and medications.
Is light therapy safe?
Light therapy is considered to be generally quite safe. Side effects of light therapy are usually mild. Some people may experience nausea, headaches, eye strain, or feel “edgy” when they first start using a lamp.
These effects usually get better with time or reducing the light exposure. People who have bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) should consult their doctor before using light therapy.
There are no known long-term harmful effects of light therapy; however, people with certain medical conditions (such as retinal disease, macular degeneration or diabetes) or taking certain medications (such as thioridazine, lithium or melatonin) should have eye examinations before considering light therapy. Please check with your doctor. You are using the light therapy lamp at your own risk. The light therapy lamp should not be seen as a cure. Light therapy is just one form of treatment that may help with the winter blues. Eating healthy, staying fit and getting good sleep are also helpful during the winter months. You should also get outside and take advantage of the sun when it is out!
If you are experiencing mental health issues for which you require additional support, you can speak with your doctor.
Thank you to the Knights of Columbus, St. John The Evangelist Council 4895 for purchasing the lamp.