Talking Is the Latest Tool for Battling Seasonal Depression

A large-scale study suggests that talk therapy may have longer-lasting benefits than light boxes for treating wintertime blues

Darker days have arrived across the Northern Hemisphere and, for many people, so has seasonal depression. For years patients have turned to light therapy, regular exposure to artificial light that's meant to mimic the longer days of milder seasons.

But now a multi-year study suggests that specialized talk therapy sessions may actually have longer-lasting benefits than light exposure for treating seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that's been used to fight other types of depression for decades. Sessions involve working with a professional therapist to learn methods of thinking, speaking and acting that eliminate negative thoughts and replace isolating behaviors with more positive activities to banish the blues.

Quite a bit of scientific literature indicates that over the long run, psychotherapies and particularly CBT can produce a better outcome than other treatments for depression. But CBT has only recently been applied to SAD, so its benefits in this realm were unclear....more