Have you ever been gloomy or laid back during the winter times? When the days grow shorter, light becomes less visible and we respond to the weather by planting ourselves in front of the television or hiding under the covers to stay warm. While for some of us the warmth of a cozy covers and hot-chocolate may be all you need to face the coming winter with good cheer, but for MOST people the seasonal changes deepens to a seasonal depression.
WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a category of depression that emerges in particular seasons of the year. Most people notice SAD symptoms starting in the fall and increasing during the winter months, but a few people experience a spring/summer version. Let’s take a look at some common questions you might have about this disorder.
Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal feeling that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year. Let’s take a look at some common questions you might have about this disorder.
Treatments and Therapies
There are three major types of treatment for SAD:
- Medication – Antidepressants have proven to be effective for people with SAD, especially those with intense symptoms. Medication requires patience, because it can take several weeks before you begin to feel the effects. It’s also important not to stop taking the medication if you feel better. Consult with your doctor before you change your dosage, and let him or her know if you experience any side effects.
- Psychotherapy – Talk therapy can be an invaluable option for those with SAD. A psychotherapist can help you identify patterns in negative thinking and behavior that impact depression, learn positive ways of coping with symptoms, and institute relaxation techniques that can help you restore lost energy.
- Light therapy – Phototherapy involves exposing oneself to light via a special box or lamp. This device produces similar effects to natural light, triggering chemicals in your brain that help regulate your mood. This treatment has proven effective especially for those who experience the winter version of SAD. Don’t make an impulse buy on the Internet though, as it’s important to consult with your doctor first. You want to make sure you’ve purchased an effective and safe device.
It’s never too late if you’re already experiencing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Seeking treatment can help prevent them from becoming worse. You can schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or make an appointment with a mental health professional, like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed counselor.
Have you experienced, or are you experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the Winter Blues? Please share your stories about the winter — good or bad — with BetterHelp. We’re always interested to hear from readers. So, don’t be shy. Wishing to light in dark days, straight travel ahead, and a cup of hot cocoa.
Treatment can help prevent complications, especially if SAD is diagnosed and treated before symptoms get bad, so get your help here.
Infographic sources: Internet