A reader asks:

Are there any light therapy studies regarding perimenopausal women with SAD who are also taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRI) drug?


In clinical practice, light is often combined with an SSRI for treatment of SAD when one alone is insufficient, though there have been no studies published on such combinations. Your question hints at something more, however: might light also work for perimenopausal symptoms?

There is one published case of a perimenopausal patient with SAD who had also experienced hot flashes for two winters in a row when she came for help to the National Institute of Mental Health. Hot flashes decreased with light therapy in the morning, but not with light therapy in the evening. Unfortunately, this beneficial effect on a key perimenopausal symptom could not be reproduced the next winter. The phenomenon deserves more testing, however, especially given recent evidence that light therapy may enhance the production of sex hormones.