What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
- Jennifer Baxt LMHC LMFT
Seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as SAD affects many people every year. This type of depression is often found among those who go through bouts of depression that seem to occur in a pattern related to the seasons and time of year, hence the name seasonal affective disorder. Winter appears to be the season to bring on seasonal affective disorder as a result of the lack of sun and the cold, dreary whether. For this reason it is found to affect people more in the northern climates where there are longer periods of dark, cold and long winters.
How does a person determine if they are suffering from seasonal affective disorder? Well, there is always the option of searching the internet for some information about SAD to get a better understanding about it and its symptoms. A person can always contact an online therapist, or consult a counselor by phone to find out more about it. Some of the symptoms a person with this type of depression include a change in a persons eating habits, a change in a persons sleeping patterns, loss interest in activities they would normally want to be involved in, and even fatigue that no amount of sleep seems to help. December is the month when one or more of these symptoms may start to appear and then, for many, it can get worse in January. In the case with anyone suffering this type of depression, their symptoms will disappear as the days grow warmer and longer.
Is there a treatment for seasonal affective disorder? There is. Anyone who believes they might be suffering from this depression because they seem to be suffering one or more of the symptoms mentioned above should consult their counselor or a therapist. A self-diagnosis is never one that should be seen as a 100 percent accurate. Going to a professional counselor for help is probably the best thing to do as they are knowledgeable about this and can determine if it is SAD a person is suffering from or some other type of depression. Many different types of depressions can often share similar symptoms. Online therapy or phone consultation are available if going to see a counselor in person is not possible, or easy for the individual to do so that people can get the help they need. SAD affects many people every year and can often be helped by light therapies and/or medicinal therapies that a therapist might suggest after they have confirmed that it is, in fact, seasonal affective disorder the patient is suffering from.
What is light therapy? Light therapy is a relatively new therapy used for patients who have seasonal affective disorder. It has been tested in comparison with some of the medicinal treatments available and it has been found that about half of the patients responded better to the light therapy than they did to the medicinal therapy. The pluses of the light therapy are obvious with the benefit of not having to worry about the side effects of medication. In light therapy, a person sets up a panel with fluorescent lights in a room where they can read, write or watch television while they go through the treatment. The length of the session depends on the patient and how affected they are by the depression. It can be as short as fifteen minutes once or twice a day, to about three hours once or twice a day.