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Light Therapy Box Can Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh can look so dreary sometimes.

No sun, just grey skies.

"I think most people would say they don't love the winter. And anything anyone can do to make themselves happier they ought to do it," said Dr. Jon Weingarden, Psychologist, Sr. Program Dir., UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.

Dr. Jon Weingarden is a Psychologist and Senior Program Director at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.

He says this time of year can be tough for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

"Have depressed mood, or maybe a lack of interest in things they found enjoyable in the past, difficulty getting up in the morning and a lot of fatigue. A common thing is change in appetite," he says.

Talking to a therapist, exercising and sticking to a routine can help, but so can a "light therapy box."

Just as it sounds, a box of light is used to alert the body to get up and get moving.

"The light box you can use for 15 minutes to an hour a day. You want to use it as early in your wake-up time as possible."

Dr. Weingarden says although he sees more people seeking help with this disorder, the stigma surrounding mental health continues to be an issue.

But change is coming.

"I think younger folks are more and more open about these things and I think it's great," he says.

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