It’s not uncommon to feel a bit less energized during the winter months, but for some people, a more pronounced depression cycles in each year as daylight begins to wane. While most depression is best treated in therapy or counseling, light therapy has proven fairly effective for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Until now, many have suspected that light therapy’s success was nothing more than a psychological placebo. But a desert gerbil called the Fat Sand Rat has proven otherwise. Unlike most research rodents, which are nocturnal, the Fat Sand Rat keeps daytime hours, just like humans. And it also shows signs of anxiety, antisocial behavior, and despair when the sun goes away. New research shows that the rat responds very positively to light therapy, which weakens the placebo argument and offers real hope to those who find themselves depressed during fall and winter months.
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