Don’t Let Seasonal Affective Disorder Make you SAD
As the seasons change, men and women from across the United States are finding themselves just a bit more down than they were a few weeks back. If you are one of these, you may be looking for something to blame your blahs on—but thanks to the changing seasons and less sun light, you may actually be feeling the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Starting sometime around late fall or winter, SAD can cause periods of depression that many researchers believe are directly related to lessening amounts of sunlight and changes in the feel-good chemicals of the brain. Most often, those who suffer from SAD feel better during the warmer months of spring and summer only to have their symptoms return with cooler weather. Seasonal Affective Disorder is also more common in those who live in colder, cloudier climates of the North than those in Southern regions.
The most common symptoms of SAD include low energy levels, difficulty concentrating, tearfulness or crying spells, irritability, and the craving of starchy carbohydrate-riddled foods (which can lead to winter weight gain). In more severe cases, it has even been linked to thoughts of suicide, or suicidal attempts. Often those who suffer from SAD will drag themselves through the cooler months without any help; never recognizing that their symptoms are treatable, and that they can enjoy a more positive outlook on life despite the season.
How is Seasonal Affective Disorder Treated?
Psychologists and mental health professionals across the U.S. have been studying the use of light therapy for SAD and have seen very positive results from the treatment. Lights used for treatment can be purchased online for a few hundred dollars and have been shown to work just as well as some anti-depressant medications that are typically used to help manage symptoms. For maximum results, users will sit under a broad-spectrum lamp for 30-40 minutes each day. While the therapy has been shown to work well, it can be very difficult for patients with busy lifestyles to work the sessions into their schedules; making oral medications a more convenient method of treatment.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is more likely to strike in women—usually sometime between the ages of 20 and 30, and effects men as well, but at lower rates. Because Dr. Hessel sees women just like you every day who may be struggling with symptoms of depression, she is skilled in assessment that could help you feel better. By helping you find a physician who will be able to diagnose and treat your personal case, Dr. Hessel cares about you and will strive to work with you so that being your best is a reality. We welcome your visit to our office soon.