Roundabouts a year ago, I wrote a post on seasonal affective disorder (SAD). As we are right smack in the middle of winter again, I thought it would be good to take a deeper look into what SAD is all about. After all, not understanding something may very well be akin to digging your own hole. Knowing what SAD is all about can help you deal with it in a more effective manner.
Here are some facts about SAD:
-Symptoms become apparent when the days get shorter and the nights longer.
-Melatonin and serotonin are the hormones that become affected by the variations in the amount of sunlight.
-SAD is clinically diagnosed and is more than a case of winter blues.
-There are different choices for the treatment of SAD. In 2006, the US FDA approved a drug called Wellbutrin XL for treatment of SAD. However, doctors advise other options before resorting to the use of medication.
-The most used treatment is phototherapy. This is where a therapist supervises exposure of the patient to artificial light.
What should you do if you think that you have SAD?
First of all, determine if it is really SAD and not merely a case of the winter blues, which many people go through. The best course of action would be to visit a doctor and seek professional opinion.
Once you have been properly diagnosed, consult with your doctor as to the best treatment option. As mentioned above, phototherapy is recommended before anything else. Additional exercise may also help as this releases “happy hormones” which helps you feel better and gets rid of depression. Another option would be to set aside time for a winter vacation – choose a sunny place and get away from the gloomy winter weather for a short while.