Primehealth Medical Center, P.C.
Primehealth Medical Center, P.C.

 Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, abbreviated as SAD, often experience struggles during the fall and winter months and annually suffer from depressive disorders. SAD's cause isn’t specific, but the disorder affects over 10 million people yearly as the colder season pass and the amount of sunlight throughout the day decreases. For those who have SAD, these depressive symptoms can greatly impact your ability to enjoy the holiday season and spend time with family.

Even while psychologists aren’t sure about SAD's causes, it’s currently believed to be caused by the lack of melatonin production and the disruption of sleep cycles due to a lack of sunlight. It's important for those who suffer from SAD to recognize its symptoms and begin taking acts to manage it. Depression and other depressive disorders like SAD often become more severe as the season progresses and can produce loneliness, low energy, feelings of hopelessness, and frequent thoughts of death and suicide.

If you suffer from SAD or some other forms of depressive disorders, then here are some treatment options that you can use to help find relief from those symptoms and have a better holiday season:

Speaking with Your Doctor

Because SAD is a type of depressive disorder, one of the best ways to begin seeking treatment is by speaking with a mental health professional. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists can help determine SAD's cause and provide self-help and medication suggestions for treatment. By speaking with these professionals, those who have SAD can work through their emotions and recognize how SAD plays a part in a person’s viewpoints and perspectives about life.

Light-Based Therapy

Light therapy, such as dawn simulators and light therapy boxes, can reorganize the body’s circadian rhythm and help suppress melatonin, one of the hormones produced by your body to control your sleep cycle. Using light sources as a form of therapy can be a useful tool for treating SAD by encouraging the body to produce melatonin for staying awake and helping brighten your mood.

Having a Schedule

Sometimes staying on a schedule can be hard to manage when you have SAD, but creating and sticking to a schedule can help manage SAD and boost your mood. Having a schedule can allow you to manage your sleep, how much light you’re exposed to, what times you eat, and other aspects of your day. Balancing these aspects can help give you new perspectives, change your habits, and provide you with more energy throughout the day to manage SAD.

Exercise During Winter

Exercise has numerous benefits; it boosts the metabolism, helps build muscle, and removes excess fat by converting it to energy. Even while getting outside can be a struggle, practicing exercise routines indoors, such as yoga, Pilates, treadmill running, and weight training, can boost the heart and help keep the mind healthy.

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