Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs when weather and daylight changes, mainly triggered by winter, make you feel blue.
Although it’s not clear why people get this condition, some believe that the changes in the weather and daylight can affect the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour clock that controls our function during waking hours and sleeping.
One theory suggests that the changing seasons can disrupt the production of certain hormones, such as melatonin and serotonin, which regulate mood and sleep. Here are some things that
Meet With Your Doctor
Individuals suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) should be referred to a mental health specialist. A psychiatrist can perform various screening tests to identify people with this condition.
Prepare During the Fall
As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, you must take some time to prepare your mind for the upcoming changes.
According to psychologist Kim Burgess, Ph.D., regular exercise can help people feel better about themselves and their mental health.
Use a Light Box
Exposure to artificial light can help people with seasonal affective disorder by maintaining their circadian rhythm. A 2017 review published in the Einstein Journal of Medicine and Biology suggested that this therapy is a first-line treatment.
The Mayo Clinic noted that phototherapy boxes, also referred to as phototherapy devices, can help people with seasonal affective disorder. These devices emit light that’s similar to sunlight.
According to the clinic, people who use a light box for around 20 to 30 minutes a day can experience a chemical change in their brain that can help them feel better.
The clinic also noted that people should use a light box within the hour following their morning wake-up.
Although these types of light therapy boxes are generally considered safe and effective, they’re not regulated by the FDA in the US.
Consider Getting a Dawn Simulator
Some people with this condition can benefit from a dawn simulator, an alarm clock that produces light comparable to the intensity of sunlight.
Although there are various types of dawn simulator models, the best ones use a light close to natural sunlight. In 2015, a study revealed that these devices can be effective for people suffering from mild seasonal affective disorder.
Ask About Antidepressants
According to experts, if psychotherapy or light therapy doesn’t completely alleviate the symptoms of seasonal depression, then antidepressants may be helpful.
People with this condition usually need to take antidepressants until spring. According to psychologist Ania Kalayjian, it’s essential to identify when the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) start.
Originally published on Herrick Lipton’s website.