Medical Q&As

SAD - light box treatment?

Could you please give me some information on where in Ireland I can buy a light box to treat SAD? I am taking Prozac to treat depression but notice that my symptoms are worse in winter so I'd like to try light treatment to supplement it.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects approximately 2% of people in Northern Europe and the incidence increases with distance from the equator. It is said to be less common in Northern European countries when there is snow on the ground because such physical environments tend to be very bright. The cause of SAD is not fully understood but is thought to be related to the impact of ambient light on the level of melatonin being secreted by the pineal gland. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland when we sleep. At daybreak the bright light switches off the production of melatonin; however if the level of ambient light is low the melatonin continue to be secreted by the pineal gland, which in turn can have an adverse effect on levels of alertness and mood. It is claimed that a light box can switch off melatonin production with consequent benefits for SAD sufferers. Your pharmacist might be able to assist you in purchasing a light box. Pharmacists often deal with a wide range of medical wholesalers, some of whom might include light boxes as part of their portfolio of products. Suppliers of medical equipment might also be able to assist you. There are several such suppliers listed in the golden pages telephone directory. You could also make contact with Promed, which is a supplier of products to the medical profession. Promed has a website that can be accessed at: