Seasonal Affective Disorder and Methods for Treatment

In an article by Sherri Melrose, it is explained that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a recurrent form of depression during the fall and winter seasons. Common signs that someone is dealing with SAD includes sad mood, low energy, irritability, crying frequently, lethargy, abnormal sleep, decreased physical activity, carbohydrate craving, and withdrawal from social activity. Severity of symptoms is different in each patient and can include violent behavior. Women are more affected by SAD than men, and SAD begins to occur between 18 and 30 years of age.

Currently there are multiple ways to help those with SAD, including antidepressants, light therapy, vitamin D, and counseling. Antidepressants prevent the reuptake of serotonin and light therapy is a way to mimic the light that is produced from the sun. Vitamin D supplementation is important because the body is not as capable of producing vitamin D without light exposure. Counseling is another method for helping those with SAD because of the help and support that it can provide to the patient. It is helpful to limit sugar intake, increase exercise, manage stress, and avoid social withdrawal when symptoms are not sever. It is also helpful to patients to provide instruction about mindfulness, and enjoyable activities.

SAD is a serious problem that most people do not realize is the reason for a change in mood over the fall and winter seasons. It’s interesting how it is caused by small changes in the body, but it is very important for people to take care of themselves when onset occurs. I can understand how it can be difficult to diagnose, and it can be very difficult for the patient to understand what is happening. Treatment is important to start and continue throughout the darker months.

Melrose S. Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depress Res Treat. 2015.

4 thoughts on “Seasonal Affective Disorder and Methods for Treatment”

  1. I have heard of SAD before but did not realize that the symptoms of it go beyond lethargy or sleep issues. Because the symptoms can be severe, it is good to see that a wide variety of therapies are available for a patient to access. I think it is important to increase awareness of the disorder so that people who are experiencing these symptoms can seek help. I also find it interesting that more women are affected by the disorder than men. I wonder if this happens to do with hormone levels or more social factors such as exercise or stress. Investigation into this would be interesting.

  2. I did not know that women are more likely to have Seasonal Affective Disorder than men. People can overlook these symptoms and think that they are just in a bad mood because of the weather, but it can actually be a serious condition that requires treatment. It’s definitely important to make sure people are aware of SAD and understand that it can be treated with lifestyle changes not just medication.

  3. Personally, I wasn’t aware that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) existed until I took a psychology course during my freshmen year of college. This just demonstrates that this is a condition that is not frequently talked about. I think that it wood be a good idea to spread awareness about SAD, especially during the fall and winter seasons when it occurs. More awareness means that more people who suffer from this condition can get the help they need. Receiving a diagnosis may actually be a relief for the people that suffer from this condition. It may be reassuring to them that there is a psychological reason behind their seasonal mood change and that it can be treated.

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