In this article, you’ll learn and discover tips to ease Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms.
Days are getting shorter and nights are getting longer now that we’re officially nearing the end of the year. Unfortunately, as our bodies struggle to adapt to the shortage of sunlight, our brains produce more of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and less of the happiness and well-being hormone serotonin.
While this physical shift is normal, there are some people who are especially sensitive to seasonal changes and may experience a more serious condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What is SAD?
The seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that limits a person’s ability to enjoy their life and their ability to perform day-to-day activities. Approximately 350 million people around the world suffer from some form of depression.
Those who suffer from chronic depression may find their symptoms worsen at certain times of the year because of the seasonal impact on the body’s hormone levels. This can be especially true for people under a lot of stress such as caregivers, with 40 to 70 percent of adult guardians showing signs of depression. However, not everyone who suffers from chronic depression suffers from SAD, and not everyone with SAD suffers from chronic depression.
How can I ease my SAD symptoms?
SAD symptoms can make it difficult to find joy in your daily life, and they can make the holiday season especially challenging. To help you manage your SAD, here are a few ways you can ease your symptoms:
Use a light therapy box.
Our bodies are more sensitive to sunlight than you think. Light therapy boxes mimic sunshine to help ease the symptoms of SAD. It’s recommended to sit in front of a light therapy box for approximately 30 minutes a day to stimulate your body’s circadian rhythm and to suppress the natural release of melatonin and serotonin. Many people with SAD find light therapy is most effective when used in the morning.
Use a dawn simulator.
Similar to light therapy boxes are dawn simulators, which produce light that gradually increases in intensity like the sun. The most effective dawn simulators for easing SAD symptoms are those that use full-spectrum light, which is the closest to natural sunlight. Dawn simulators help to stimulate your body’s circadian rhythm like light therapy boxes, which can help you manage your SAD symptoms.
Talk to a mental health professional.
There’s a misconception that you only need to visit a mental health professional when your symptoms severely impact your daily life. But that’s not true. Whether your SAD symptoms are severe or minor, you can benefit from talking with a mental health professional. SAD is a form of depression and a psychiatrist can help you manage your symptoms. Medication such as SSRIs can also help you manage your symptoms. The U.S. holds more than 45% of the global pharmaceutical market, so you can feel confident knowing you can find a medication that works for you.
The seasonal affective disorder is a serious condition that can impact your health and well-being. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help from mental health professionals and your loved ones.