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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Better than Light Therapy for SAD Patients

Update Date: Nov 10, 2015 09:49 AM EST

With the winter just round the corner, the days are becoming shorter and getting worse for the people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. People suffering from this condition experience poor mental health as he sun goes down. The obvious solution for this condition that has been researched for all the years and has been widely used for the treatment of SAD is the light therapy. To avert the symptoms of depression emerging from longer nights, the patients are required to sit under a very bright lamp for at least 30 minutes. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that instead of using light therapy, the specialists can consider using cognitive behavioral therapy. This research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, experimented with 177 people which is supposedly the largest trial up to this date, reported the Mirror.

In this study, the participants were put through CBT and light therapy and the experiment was conducted over a period of six weeks. After the completion of treatment, the SAD patients had to check back with the researcher for the next two winters. In the first winter, the results of CBT and light therapy gave pretty much the same results when it came to averting the depressive symptoms. However, by the second winter, the CBT showed more promising results, as reported by Mirror.

According to the lead author of the study and professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont, Kelly Rohan, "[CBT] is not a treatment that you have to be in every day for five months of the year indefinitely," she says. "A light box isn't really a treatment that gives you a sense of agency or control over your symptoms." She further added, "you can't control what time the sun rises and the sun sets," Rohan says. "I mean, I guess you could by moving dramatically to a new latitude, but assuming there are good reasons to stay in the area where you live, then I think this is good news. You can manipulate the light in your environment by using light therapy, and that is an effective treatment. However, there's another way, by changing your thinking style and your behavior, that might actually confer longer term benefits than light therapy", says The Atlantic

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