How To Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder

How To Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression, is a very common mental health concern that affects people during certain times of the year and in particular locations. It is associated with a lack of sunlight, but that doesn’t negate the seriousness of the condition and its need to be managed effectively. This article will share with you how seasonal affective disorder is treated so that you or a loved one who struggles with it can get better.

Light Therapy

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that primarily affects people who live in areas that receive reduced sunlight compared to other places, and it’s known to be a concern in the fall or winter months. Therefore, in some locations, seasonal depression can actually be a problem for a good part of the year.

In order to combat seasonal affective disorder, light therapy has been developed, which makes use of an artificial light source. These are specially-made and can be found in a light therapy box, which you will sit or work next to for around 30 minutes to an hour each day. However, this can change depending on the intensity of the light box.

Nonetheless, one of the easiest ways to utilize it is by placing your light box on the corner of your desk.

The light must make contact with your eyes, but not directly, as the bright light can be irritating and damaging. You must also be consistent with it in order to see noticeable results – usually, people benefit the most from doing light therapy when starting out their day.

Psychotherapy

Light therapy isn’t the only solution to treating seasonal affective disorder, and like treating major depression, people can benefit greatly from finding a counselor or therapist that they can talk to.

Although there is a defined cause for the depressive symptoms in those who have seasonal depression, it’s still important to develop coping skills for the negative feelings and emotions that you may experience during the months that are problematic to you.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective therapy methods to do this, and most professionals are familiar with this technique because it can be used to treat other mental health conditions too, like anxiety disorders, which tend to be comorbid with depression.

Finding a counselor or therapist who understands CBT and depression is easy and you can connect to one online today at BetterHelp. Online therapy is a convenient and affordable way to get help, and if you wanted to, scheduling is flexible, and so you could plan it so that it coincides with your light therapy time.

Medication

In addition to these therapies, medication may also be required to help treat your depression.

Depression is linked to your serotonin levels, which is a neurotransmitter that is connected to your mood, appetite, and overall well-being, and serotonin is something that can be influenced by sunlight.

In areas and periods where there is reduced sunlight, serotonin levels can be impacted, leading to the symptoms of depression. SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be helpful in getting your serotonin to normal, healthy levels and provide symptomatic relief.

These medications require a prescription, and therefore, you need to consult with your doctor or psychiatrist and find out if medications like SSRIs are right for you. They are the first-line medical treatment for depression, but other antidepressants can be effective as well.

Conclusion

Seasonal affective disorder can make living life unbearable during certain times of the year, but it can be managed and you can minimize its effects on your health and well-being. Hopefully, this article has shown you just how you can do that, and, if you’re struggling right now, feel encouraged to reach out for assistance.

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