The days are shorter and colder. The holidays have you worrying about spending money and traveling. This is more than the winter blues. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression, usually at its height between the autumn and winter months when sunlight is less.
According to Psychiatry.org SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.
Some symptoms may include:
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Loss of energy
- Feeling tired or agitated
- Changes in appetite
- Weight gain
- Light therapy uses exposure to light to treat symptoms of SAD. During light therapy you sit in front of a light box that emits a bright light, mimicking natural outdoor light. According to the Mayoclient.org light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep.
- Cognitive behavior therapy (aka therapy). Sitting down with someone and explaining how you’re feeling is one of the best ways to pinpoint the problem and a solution. Licensed therapist can discuss and personalize different ways to help you combat SAD symptoms.
- Sunlight/outdoors. Do your best to take advantage of the day’s limited sunlight. Try working close to a window, exposing yourself to the rays, or bundle up and take a quick walk outside during your lunch break. These small things have been shown to make a difference in mood.
Although SAD affects many people, never take your health to chance. Consult with your doctor if symptoms of SAD continue or worsen. Don’t let the season determine your mental health and wellbeing. Our certified therapists are ready to work with you to treat and manage your mental health issues. Learn more about our programs.