Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression related to the change of seasons, in most cases triggered by the light and weather conditions associated with the colder periods (in some cases, the disorder is triggered by the approach of the warmer, sunny seasons, but these cases are very rare and they require different therapeutic approaches). There are many treatment options available for the affection, one of the most efficient approaches being light therapy.
The process involves the patient’s exposure to artificial light that mimics natural light to influence the production of certain chemicals released by the brain. The chemicals involved are responsible for the patient’s mood, sleep and appetite – seasonal depression usually appears when they are not secreted by the brain in correct quantities. The exposure to more light regulates the relevant functions of the brain.
During seasonal affective disorder light therapy sessions, the patient spends a certain period in a light box equipped with a source of light that emits light of a color temperature and intensity very similar to sunlight. The exposure to the special light triggers the brain to adjust the quantities of the specific mood-enhancing chemicals released, thus helping with the amelioration of the symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder.