Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a condition similar to depression. The illness is divided into two major types, spring/summer SAD and fall/winter SAD. The latter is the most common, as it is also tied to daylight saving time. Since this November seems to be the month of changes, at it only just started, this article will show you a couple of ways to overcome seasonal affective disorder this fall.
Doctors recommend patients diagnosed with SAD year-round medication. However, new research has shown that people who struggle with the seasonal blues can overcome the symptoms if they start treatment at the beginning of fall.
What Makes Us SAD?
SAD is caused by the shift in natural light. Since some people have a harder time adjusting to weather and light changes, their body reacts in a more violent way. The brain is the first to be affected by the lower levels of light and the disruption of the circadian rhythm caused by DTS, some individuals ending up feeling the blues, while others may struggle with its more serious relative, depression.
Moreover, the seasonal shift also tampers with serotonin and melatonin levels. These are the hormones responsible for mood and sleep regulation.
Common fall/winter SAD symptoms include an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, a lack of energy, hypersensitivity during social encounters irritability, sadness, difficulty concentrating, and in the most advanced state, suicidal thoughts.
Furthermore, individuals affected by the disorder are known to have an acute desire to sleep for longer periods of time. They also crave foods rich in carbohydrates.
Efficient Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatments
Doctors are advising people who struggle with SAD symptoms to seek medical attention. The most efficient treatment method is light box therapy. As the name might suggest, patients are given light boxes that emit a special broad-spectrum ultraviolet light that mimics natural light.
In most cases, doctors advise patients to use the box for half an hour in the morning. The box must be placed 12 to 24 inches away from the bed, the recommended intensity being of 10,000 lux.
For those who find light box treatment inefficient, the FDA recently approved the use of bupropion. This is an antidepressant developed especially for SAD.
Psychotherapy is also an option for those who are not fans of prescription medication.
There are lots of treatment options, every single one tailored to the needs of the patient. However, the most important step is to seek medical attention. Seasonal affective disorder can cause long-term mental health damage.
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