Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatments
Seasonal affective disorder treatments include light therapy that is prescribed for daily use especially during times when the weather is cloudy, rainy, and there is no sunshine. The most common occurrence of the disorder is during the fall and winter months when there is typically less sunshine. However, some people have symptoms in the spring and summer if there is an excessive amount of rain. Sad light boxes provide some relief for those who have the disorder. Therapy is dependent upon the condition of the patient but commonly the length of time for sessions is between thirty minutes to two hours. Usually the best time of the day to have light therapy is first thing in the morning. Side effects from treatment can include eyestrain, headache, insomnia, irritability, sleep interruptions, and nausea. People who take medications that react with sunlight should not use this type of treatment.
Depression is more common during the winter months when there is typically less sunlight. Some people who are susceptible to being depressed from lack of light may get benefit from seasonal affective disorder treatments. Depression should not be taken lightly no matter what the cause and may require more aggressive therapy in severe cases. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may include complacency with everyday activities, no pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyable, reduction in productivity, lack of interest in spending time with family and friends, appetite changes, cravings for sweets and bread, fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty making decisions. Seek God for guidance and perseverance during times of illness; His Word reminds us that He cares. "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." (Matthew 8:17)
Antidepressants can help individuals who have depression that seems to be seasonal but if medication doesn't seem to help or the person taking them is sensitive to the side effects they cause then a doctor may prescribe another option. Sad light boxes can produce enough bright light to suppress the brain's production of melatonin effectively reducing symptoms of depression. Other conditions that can benefit from this type of therapy include obsessive-compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, postpartum depression, and insomnia.
Feeling sad day after day can take a toll on a person and affect the entire family. People who are experiencing symptoms of depression need to see the attention of a doctor especially when prolonged feelings of sadness cause suicidal thoughts to surface. Sometimes making it a point to get outside and engage in activity or seeking the company of others are effective seasonal affective disorder treatments. Taking a walk outside and listening to the sounds of nature can help to lift sadness and despair. Exercise helps the mind and the body but should not be overdone. Some people may need additional motivation to get exercise. Good alternatives might include exercising at a gym with other people, walking the dog, or purchasing equipment such as a treadmill and exercising at home.
Florescent lighting has been known to help the symptoms experienced by those with SAD. However, sad light boxes can be used for those who do not respond to other types of lighting. Light boxes put out a tremendous amount of light with ultraviolet light filtered out. The idea way to use this type of therapy is for the person to be a certain distance from the source and have continuous therapy for a certain amount of time, whatever is suggested by a doctor. Sometimes therapy might include several sessions per day but not generally close to bedtime. One recommendation for those who use this type of treatment is to start the therapy upon waking.
Often those who suffer with depression feel as if it they are personally weak or lazy. Many things can cause depression. Sometimes the disease can be triggered by an emotional event such as death or divorce. Other times melancholy can set in because of changes in hormone levels or illnesses that can affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Seasonal affective disorder treatments help the individual who is affected by the changes in the season and the weather. Psychotherapy can help with depression as a person engages in talk therapy with a professional.
The best attitude to adopt during bouts of depression should include thinking about the realistic aspects associated with the illness. Negative thoughts are common when dealing with SAD but an individual should realize that they will pass eventually and recognize they are a symptom of an illness that needs treatment. Sad light boxes are one way to treat SAD but there are other therapies that can be beneficial. Some of these include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs, limiting caffeine and foods high in sugar, and eating healthy along with exercise. Recognizing that there are going to be good days and bad days is a realistic way to deal with bad days when things look hopeless. Although sometimes sadness with depression can seem like it will never go away, with the right treatment it will and meanwhile managing it should be approached one day at a time.
Seasonal affective disorder seems to be more common in locations where there is very cold weather and a lot of rain. For those who live in these areas, there may come a time with a decision to move may be needed. But before that happens, therapy should be given a chance to help with the symptoms. The most important thing to remember is to seek treatment and get advice from a professional. Something else that can be done to help with feelings of sadness and hopelessness are going to church and reading God's Word.
Seasonal DepressionSeasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can plague many during the winter months or those who spend their days working away from a window where natural light is available. There is a connection between sunlight and mental health and when there is a lack of sunlight available, some will fall into a depressive state. Illumination and darkness also have a profound affect on the sleep cycle and when one of these elements is missing, the biological clock can be disrupted. Substantial scientific evidence involving light therapy as a treatment for SAD is just beginning to be published and much is still not known about the true effects on the mind and emotions. But, patients that tend to experience some form of depression during certain times of the year will want to gather more information on this disorder and how it can be treated effectively.
Learning a few facts on SAD may help in understanding why, at certain times of the year, a depressed state occurs. Seasonal depression is actually more prevalent that most know. Perhaps this is because many who suffer cannot identify exactly what the problem is when they experience the blue mood or depressed state that goes away after a time (or change of season). Up to six percent of Americans experience SAD during the winter months. There are milder cases that affect people, but these states are not diagnosed as SAD. Experts estimate that up to twenty percent of the population may have these milder forms. Women tend to be more susceptible to this type of depression than men. Children can also suffer from the winter blues, but the elderly do not exhibit a high risk. There are also cases of a summer form of SAD, but this is a rare disorder. Those who live in high latitudes are among the highest percentages. Residents of Alaska are the most likely to experience this depressive disorder than residents who live in the Midwest. Because there is a strong latitude influential factor for this disorder, theories propose that prolonged periods of time without sunlight can affect the biological clock which determines sleep patterns, hormone levels, and regulates one's moods.
There are symptoms that can be used to determine if someone is experiencing a form of SAD. Seasonal depression can manifest itself much like any other form of depression. Withdrawing from friends and family members and wanting to spend time alone is a sign of a depressed state. Weight gain and low motivation are symptoms, as well. Victims of SAD will also tend to want to sleep more and feel fatigued for no apparent reason. When there are other contributing factors, such as a family history of mental health issues, those experiencing a form of this temporary depressed state may trigger an episode of a clinically depressed state. It is important to seek health if any of the above listed symptoms are present and the person exhibiting these symptoms lives in high latitude geographical locations. Light therapy is a simple form of treatment than can prevent this disorder from becoming an overwhelming problem.
When there is an absence of sunlight and those who are susceptible to SAD are at risk, an artificial light source can be substituted. Often, light therapy is used in a combination with prescribed antidepressants to help treat seasonal depression. This type of procedure, also called phototherapy, is used by patients for thirty minutes to an hour daily and usually in the morning. Research involving phototherapy suggests that by exposing the patient to artificial sunlight, the biological clock becomes "reset" and the body's system of elevating mood kicks in. Experts also suggest that those who live in risk zones or who spend much of the day in an office without windows, spend as much time outdoors as possible, even when the day is cloudy.
Another therapeutic component in treating SAD or any form of depression is having a personal relationship with Christ. The Bible refers to Jesus Christ as the light of the world. Those who suffer from seasonal depression can truly understand this metaphor because their bodies are a testimony of how much we need the sunlight, just like we need the light of the Son of God. "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:5) Christ refers to himself as not only an object that sheds truth into dark dungeons of despair so that we may see clearly, but also as a healing component for those who are ill.
Though much is still not known about SAD, there is more information available online. Those who want to consider light therapy should log on and read more about the process and safety issues. Also, speaking with a doctor about the symptoms and concerns is very important. Doctors may want to prescribe antidepressants to help lift the depression while the patient uses phototherapy. Getting informed is half of the battle, because once information is evaluated, better decisions are made. Log on and learn more about SAD and the treatment process if a family or friend is exhibiting symptoms.