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The NSPA Blog

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Tips and Tools

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Posted on January 29th, 2018 by Teri Dreher, under Alternative Therapies, Patient Tools, Tips & Resources

The Days are Getting Longer, but Winter is Still Here

The Winter Solstice was on December 21st this year. That means that we’re in the half of the year where days are supposed to be getting longer, and we should be able to enjoy more sunshine. Still, we’re only one month into Winter. If you’re in the 4-6% of the population with Winter depression, or in the 10-20% of the population with Seasonal Affective Disorder, this could easily be one of the harder times of year for you.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that results from changing brain chemicals. As our internal clocks are thrown out of whack, Serotonin and Melatonin levels drop, and feelings of hopelessness rise. For many people, this manifests in feeling tired, lethargic, irritable, unable to concentrate, and uninterested in social activities. Scientists are unsure of all the causes of SAD, but they do know that women in their 20s and 30s are most likely to suffer from the condition. It should also be noted that SAD can creep up anytime of year, not just during Winter.

How Do I Get Back to My Normal Self?

There’s no one, catch-all, option for treating SAD. Still, as bad as it may feel in the moment, there is hope. One of the most prevalent treatment options for SAD is Bright light therapy. Bright light therapy involves specially designed light fixtures that increase our levels of vitamin D3. Choosing the right kind of light is important, so look to sites like this one (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/in-depth/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/art-20048298) from the Mayo Clinic to ensure you’re getting a light that will work for you.

Other options for treatment involve more traditional talk therapy routes, medications, and self-care. With these options, the most important thing to remember is finding what works best for you. It may take a couple of tries, which can be exhausting, but can make all the difference in the end. If you feel like you might be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, talk to your doctor. There is always hope, and of course, never hesitate to reach out to NShore Patient Advocates with any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

For a no-cost 30 minute initial consultation, please call 847-612-6684 or click here to fill out our online callback request form.