What You Can Do About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as SAD, is a type of depression that is related to shorter days and reduced sunlight exposure during the fall and winter months. While about 14 percent of the US population suffers from the wintertime blues according to the National Institutes of Health, SAD is a more serious condition. If you find yourself not being able to function in your everyday tasks as the seasons change, you may want to consider consulting with a professional.

Shasta Hickman outlines a few symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and some tips on what you can do about it.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Symptoms of SAD are very similar to those of Major Depressive Disorder with the only distinction being the timing of these episodes. In the short, dark days of winter those who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder sleep more than usual, have less energy, lose interest in social activities and lose ability to focus and think clearly. If you are struggling with the above, it is recommended that you consult with a psychiatrist who has a background in treating SAD.

Treatment options for SAD

Because SAD is a form of clinical depression, it can be treated through the use of antidepressants. The most common treatment available is a process called light therapy, which is also known as phototherapy. Light therapy has been reported to work in 80 percent of all cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

A treatment that is done in the early fall, light therapy is exposure to light that is brighter than indoor light but not as bright as direct sunlight. The therapy system consists of a set of fluorescent bulbs installed in a box with a diffusing screen. The box will need to be set up on a table or desk top for your comfort while being used. The direct exposure to light will enhance your mood while warding off the symptoms of SAD.

While this may seem like a do-it-yourself project, It is not recommended that you make a box on your own. For information on where you may obtain a light therapy box, consult with your doctor.

How to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the winter months approach it is important that you acknowledge the signs and symptoms of SAD, then The Huffington Post recommends working to combat them. Make family and friends aware that you will be needing their support to get through this rough time. Take advantage of the daylight by waking up earlier. Keep your curtains and blinds open for maximum sunlight exposure. Decorate your home with light-colored upholstery and brightly painted walls.

Trimming the branches near the house and hedges around windows will increase the natural light in your home. This type of work is best left to the pros with the right expertise and equipment, so research nearby tree removal services by using an online service directory like Angi.com. Read up on customer reviews and check out each contractor’s ratings as you narrow your search, and get quotes from at least three pros to gauge the cost.

While you are at work, try to sit next to a window. Also use your lunch break to take a quick stroll outside while the sun is out. Exercise daily for a natural mood enhancer and be sure to eat healthy, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest. The more you increase your exposure to light, the happier you will be.

If you are able, plan to take winter vacations to places with long days. You may also want to develop a knack for some type of outdoor winter activity such as sledding or skiing. Keeping yourself engaged in activities will keep you from sliding into isolation.

For a person battling Seasonal Affective Disorder, the winter months can be challenging. The key to coping with SAD is to prepare yourself ahead of time, by making plans to stay social and active. SAD is completely treatable and if managed correctly, you can beat those winter blues by a long shot.

Photo By Xavier Sotomayor (Stock Snap)

Are you hesitant to seek help and support for personal matters? By taking the first courageous step and reaching out to counselor and life coach Shasta Hickman, you can be confident that you’re on the right path towards emotional health and becoming a stronger version of you. Contact Shasta today! (971) 303-9868

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