Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder in Sobriety
Seasonal Affective Disorder and Sobriety
An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. You may know it as seasonal depression, or SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression triggered by the change in season.
SAD is particularly common during the cold, dark weather of winter. Though for some, this mood disorder shows up other times of the year as well.
In this post, we’ll go over symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder as well as some proven treatments to help those suffering from this condition feel better and remain productive all year long.
What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Less light during the winter is believed to be the primary cause of seasonal depression. Less light disrupts our body’s internal clock, and may also contribute to a decrease in our body’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is a brain chemical, or neurotransmitter, that can affect mood.
Here are some other things to look for if you believe you or a loved one may suffer from SAD.
Seasonal Affective Disorder and Mood changes
It’s common to feel down from time to time, but if you find yourself suffering from depression, sadness, or just a lower-than-usual mood over an extended period of time, it could result from seasonal depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is also known to spur emotional changes like anxiety, apathy, generalized discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, and mood swings.
Disturbed sleep patterns
Disrupted sleep patterns can also be a symptom of SAD. This includes difficulty falling or staying asleep. It can also include excessive sleepiness and insomnia.
SAD can bring on behavioral changes such as irritability or increased social isolation. Be on the lookout for elevated feelings of fatigue, lack of concentration, or variations in appetite as well.
What is the best treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder?
If you or someone you know has an issue with seasonal depression, there’s hope.
One of the most effective methods of combating symptoms of Seasonal depression is exercise. Physical activity boosts serotonin levels in the body. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week.
If exercise isn’t enough, try these forms of treatment for symptoms of seasonal depression.
Also called phototherapy, light therapy calls for at least 30 minutes of exposure to a special form of lighting that emits 10,000 lux of fluorescent light. This light is believed to increase serotonin production in the brain.
There are specific antidepressants to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Doctors recommend beginning an antidepressant regimen a few weeks before the change in seasons, since it can take some time to feel the effect of the medication.
Talk therapy is helpful for a whole host of emotional and psychological challenges. If light therapy and antidepressants don’t alleviate your issues with seasonal depression, try talk therapy.
Don’t give up
Furthermore, do your best to get outdoors during winter. Try visiting somewhere sunny if you can, and try to keep your sleep cycles stable as possible.
Some consider vitamin D supplements an effective form of treatment for SAD (vitamin D comes from sunlight). However, the research behind vitamin D as a treatment for seasonal depression remains inconclusive.
More than anything, it’s important not to dismiss seasonal depression as just another case of the wintertime blues. Don’t give up. There’s a lot that can be done to alleviate the symptoms of SAD.