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Do You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

During the cold winter months, it can be fairly normal to have a bout of the blues every now and then. Between the utter lack of sunlight, dropping temperatures, and hectic holiday schedule, we can feel worn down and depressed. But what if you could never quite shake that foul mood?

Turn that frown upside down

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, is a mood disorder in people who otherwise have normal mental health but experience depressive symptoms in the winter. It’s not a unique mood disorder, but a type of depression. SAD is believed to be related to light and the absence of it during the winter months. Seasonal Affective Disorder is noticeably present in the Arctic region latitudes, including Finland and Norway, where the rate of SAD is 9.5%.

If you think you might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, then you should observe your symptoms, write them down and discuss them with a doctor. Common symptoms of SAD include morning sickness, oversleeping or overeating, difficulty waking up in the morning, a lack of energy, withdrawal from friends and family and a decreased interest in social activities.

There are many different treatments available for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder including light therapy, medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Light therapy uses a lightbox containing special bulbs that emit far more lumens, the total amount of visible light given off from a specific source, than your average light-bulb. These lights mimic the light from the sun and help to increase the production of serotonin. Patients are instructed to sit under the light for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Light therapy can also include exposure to actual sunlight by either having the patient spend more time outside when the sun is out or using a computer-controlled heliostat to reflect sunlight into the windows of their home or work office.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of therapy designed to treat problems through a systematic, goal-oriented approach through talking. It helps people to change their cognitive process which can correspond with a change in their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In regards to SAD, patients will engage in enjoying activities during the winter months and be taught to think more positively.

Antidepressant medication is also a popular treatment method for Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you are interested in this treatment option, consult with your doctor.

This season doesn’t have to be the winter of your discontent. If you believe that you are suffering from more than just a simple bad day, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options and put an end to your winter blues.

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About Stephanie Weaver Stephanie is a full time freelance writer from Philly. In her spare time, she enjoys playing roller derby and spending time with her English bulldog, Brit.

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