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Light Therapy for SAD

Try light therapy this fall and winter

As many as one-third of people living in Seattle may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of seasonal depression. During the darker, shorter days of fall and winter, people with SAD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain

Recommended treatments for SAD include light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy, depending on the severity of symptoms and other factors. Light therapy can start working quickly and causes few side effects. Research on light therapy is limited, but it appears to be effective for most people in relieving SAD symptoms.

Use of light therapy is recommended in 15-30 minute increments and earlier in the day is best.

Light therapy at Hall Health Center

Light therapy is available on the 3rd floor of Hall Health Center between 8AM and 10AM Monday through Friday. Call our Mental Health Clinic at (206) 543-5030 to set up a brief intake with a counselor. Once the intake is complete, you can schedule 30-minute appointments in our sun room. When you arrive at Hall Health, come directly to the 3rd floor and check in at our reception desk.

There is no cost to students.

Light therapy at the Counseling Center

The UW Counseling Center also offers light therapy to students at no charge. Learn more here.