Seasonal Affective Disorder (also referred to as the Winter Blues and the acronym SAD) is now considered a true disorder. As the name implies, it mostly happens to suffers on a seasonal basis; usually the fall and the winter. Fortunately, patients do not have to endure the symptoms of SAD that whole time because Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy is readily available.
Therapy can cover many aspects of the disease. There is no cure for it, but there is therapy to lessen the symptoms and treatment that is focused on particular symptoms. Treatments range from one or more of those based on getting more exposure to light, to those based on exercise and sleep. They may also involve counseling and the use of antidepressants.
Counseling Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Interpersonal therapy. This deals with personal relationships. Those with SAD often become introverted during a bout and this helps them to deal with people around them at that time.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. This focuses on behavior and thought patterns. The idea is to learn that it is ones thoughts that affect emotions and reactions; not what is going on externally.
Family therapy. This involves the whole family and gives them the opportunity to discuss how the disorder is affecting them.
Light Therapy for SAD
Bright Light Treatment. This Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy involves sitting in front of a very bright light for two hours or less. This light is much brighter than a standard light in the home.
Dawn Simulation. This is more light treatment. A dim light is used in the sleeping area. The light gets increasingly brighter until the patient wakes up. This helps to reset the patient’s biological clock.
Other Kinds of Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy
Antidepressants. There are a number of antidepressants that are prescribed for SAD. These include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, and Paxil; and the non-SSRI bupropion (commercially marketed as Wellbutrin and Zyban).
Exercise. Getting plenty of exercise can help to overcome the fatigue associated with SAD. When a patient feels fatigued, it is hard for him or her to muster up the will to exercise; but it actually can lessen the symptoms of SAD and give the patient more energy. Exercise also helps to control hunger and burn calories that may be consumed during binge eating due to depression.
Negative Ion Therapy. A machine (similar to an air cleaner) that releases negatively charged particles (ions) into the air is placed in the patient’s room during sleeping hours. It is assumed that the cleaner air from this Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy gives the patient more energy. This helps to fight the symptom of fatigue due to SAD.