Wait, it’s called a SAD lamp? How ironic!
For those of us who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), winter can feel never ending. So what can we do about it? One option to look into is a SAD lamp. Which is pretty much exactly how it sounds, a lamp to treat your SAD symptoms.
According to Mayo clinic, a SAD lamp needs to be at least 10,000 lux. You may see other options on Amazon or at Target so make sure they are at least 10,000 lux.
When starting to use a SAD lamp, start out in 5-10 minute increments and work your way up to the recommended 20-30 minutes per day. Your body may need time to get used to the lamp. In some cases, using the lamp too much for your body can cause headaches, manic symptoms, or increased anxiety. It can be helpful when making a new routine to start smaller and gradually work your way up to your goal. That way, you have space to get used to adding a new routine without becoming overwhelmed.
It may also be beneficial to check with your insurance company to see if they will cover or at least partially cover the lamp. Your insurance company may require a prescription or recommendation letter from your medication provider or therapist. They may also require you to get your lamp from their chosen medical supply company.
Much like taking medications, timing is also important when using your SAD lamp. If you can, use the lamp in the morning or shortly after you wake up for those that work nights. Consistency is important as well. Try to use the lamp around the same time of day, every day.
Once you have found a comfortable spot to sit or lay for 30 minutes, place your lamp 16-24 inches from your face, pointing at your eyes at a 45 degree angle (Mayo Clinic).
For more information from Mayo Clinic on using light therapy check out their website here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/light-therapy/about/pac-20384604
Written by: Mackenzie Kerber, MA, LPCC