Happy Groundhog Day! Has winter been affecting your mood? Getting through the winter can be challenging when dealing with SAD.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
According to the Mayo Clinic–Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the exact same times every year.
What should you do if you think SAD impacts your quality of life?
- The first step is going to your primary care provider and ruling out any other health conditions contributing to your mood.
- Before starting any treatment, light therapy (phototherapy), medication, or psychotherapy, discuss all your health conditions with your medical providers.
- If you have ever been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, make sure that you share that with your medical providers.
Light therapy and medication can increase the risk of a manic episode in individuals with bipolar disorder.
How does light therapy work?
Light therapy or phototherapy is when an individual sits a few feet away from a special lightbox that mimics natural sunlight. For people affected by SAD, the light will change their brain chemicals, giving them relief from the symptoms they are experiencing. Light therapy usually starts working in a few days to a few weeks and has very few side effects. Before going out and purchasing a light box, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider. They can let you know if light therapy is right for you, what quality light boxes are on the market, and how frequently and how long you should use your light box.
What are some of the common symptoms of SAD?
- SAD or down most of the day, nearly every day
- Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Low energy and feeling sluggish
- Problems with sleeping too much
- Carbohydrate cravings, overeating, and weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Thoughts of not wanting to live
What Can I Do?
There are many ways that you can cope with SAD symptoms depending on the severity.
- Increase Your Exercise- It may be harder to exercise in the colder months; however, exercising creates endorphins and increase serotonin which can help improve one’s mood.
- Cut Back on Simple Carbs- Eating lots of carbs can increase glucose levels, negatively affecting mood.
- Take Advantage of the Daylight- Make sure you dress warmly when going for a walk or spending time outside.
- Use a Natural Spectrum Energy Light- Light box therapy (Phototherapy) with your care provider’s approval.
- Make a Point of Socializing- Having a plan to meet with friends can give you something to look forward to.
- Meet with a Therapist and/or Medical Professional- Seek professional help if you are having suicidal thoughts or having trouble coping, or using drugs or alcohol to cope.
- Try Deep TMS Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation- Deep TMS is covered by most health insurance companies and is used to treat depression.
How does dTMS work?
Deep Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or Deep TMS, is a non-invasive, FDA-cleared treatment for clinical depression. It involves stimulating specific brain areas with electromagnetic pulses over short sessions of 30–60 minutes. The procedure is painless, carries none of the side effects often associated with medications or other treatments like electroconvulsive therapy, and can be used as a standalone treatment or as a supplement to other methods of symptom management. The fast relief provided by dTMS therapy can make it an ideal treatment for SAD compared to medications, which can take weeks or months to show results. Because this treatment is supported by evidence, Deep TMS is accessible and covered by most major health insurance providers.
If you are interested in learning more about treatment options for SAD and how TMS therapy can benefit you, learn more about Deep TMS. Interested in scheduling a Deep TMS consultation? call 215-538-3403
Before starting any treatment, meeting with your healthcare provider is always best. Many health conditions can cause mood changes, and it is best to rule them out and seek treatment with the guidance of medical professionals.
” Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651 1/19/2023