Feeling Down or Depressed? You Could Have Seasonal Affective Disorder
We’ve all heard the phrase “winter blues.” It’s when many people get in a “funk” during the colder months. Most blame it on the dreary harsh weather- an easy target. However, while that may be partially true, researchers have identified a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder that could be the culprit for your winter funk.
The Mayo Clinic describes seasonal affective disorder as:
[quote]…a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.[/quote]
Seasonal Affective Disorder, a.k.a. SAD, seasonal depression, and seasonal mood disorder, has a variety of symptoms:
- sleeping more than usual
- very little energy
- strange food cravings, such as starches and sweet foods
- feelings of depression
Severe symptoms, such as depression, usually subside with the change of seasons. One of the characteristics of SAD is that the depression subsides as spring blossoms, unlike long-term depression.
Treatment Options for SAD: A Natural Remedy
SAD does not have to take over your life. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports there is treatment for seasonal affective disorders:
[quote]Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own — you may have seasonal affective disorder. Treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. Addressing the problem can help you keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.[/quote]
As the report states, many people improve their condition with phototherapy, commonly referred to as light therapy. Light therapy is a non-invasive, non-medicinal approach that provides relief from this seasonal ailment.
How Light Therapy Works
Light therapy involves using a light box, which mimics the sun. As such, it emits a kind of light that is brighter and more intense than normal household or outdoor light. While enjoying more outdoor time is always a good idea, the light box is more focused and provides better results than trying to be outdoors enough to get more sunlight.
Light therapy could be the answer for you!
If you think you have seasonal affective disorder you should begin light therapy as soon as your symptoms manifest. Regular use of a light box lessens symptoms and helps you function more normally. You can purchase your own light box lamp for home or office use. Don’t simply endure your symptoms – eliminate them!