Light therapy can help you avoid seasonal affective disorder.

Winter does not officially begin until Dec. 21, but as the days grow shorter and sunlight exposure becomes scarcer, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) becomes more common. SAD is a type of depression that occurs during the late fall and early winter and often ends by spring or early summer. The exact cause of SAD is unknown, but research points to lack of light as the main contributor.

“SAD is not a minor condition, but because people typically experience it only during certain months, they don’t see it as a serious issue. However, it is imperative to treat,” says Dr. Paolo Cassano, a psychiatrist who specializes in low-level light therapy at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

 

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