Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) May Require You To Obtain Mental Health Counseling Or Treatment

Reduced levels in your serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that affects your mood, is linked to your experiencing a type of depression that's known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The condition is diagnosed clinically in a brain scan, which show high levels of serotonin transporter protein. This protein removes serotonin and causes you to suffer seasonal depression. It's a disorder that negatively impacts your mental health at a certain time of the year and wanes when there is a weather change. SAD may require you to need mental health counseling or treatment.

Behavior Caused By Seasonal Depression

You'll notice that seasonal affective disorder usually occurs at winter time each year. This condition affects your energy levels, sleep, and mood. It also creates problems in your social life while impacting your general sense of who you are. Note that you have to experience the cyclical symptoms of SAD consecutively for at least two years or more in order to obtain a clinical diagnosis. Don't hesitate to get immediate help for your condition, regardless of clinical timing, when your symptoms are overwhelming. 

Overwhelming Symptoms

You'll experience feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness. Stress, irritability, and anxiousness kick in. There is the problem of weight and appetite changes. It gets worse when you begin to comfort yourself with the use of drugs and alcohol. All of these symptoms suggest that you should obtain counseling. There are things that you can do to stabilize your mood in the early stages of SAD.

Helping Yourself  When Early Symptoms Arise

  • Expose yourself to as much natural sunlight as you can.
  • Consume a diet that includes omega-3 fats, which stabilizes your mood.
  • Go for walks and do not sit in one place for more than one hour.
  • Exercise is known to boost your brain's serotonin and endorphin chemical levels.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like yoga.
  • Reach out to family or friends and discuss your feelings as you seek therapy for SAD.

Main Therapy Treatment For SAD

The linchpin of SAD treatment is light therapy, which is known as phototherapy. You will receive this therapy in the form of bright lights that replace the natural outdoor daylight that winter robs you of. Light therapy suppresses your brain's melatonin secretion and keeps you alert while banishing your feeling of melancholy. Your therapist will make sure that you are administered the right dosage of phototherapy. There is even a belief that if you undergo phototherapy before your SAD symptoms arise in the fall season, it is therapeutically possible for you to completely avoid having this seasonal affective disorder.

Other Treatments

If phototherapy fails to help your condition, there are other treatments that your therapist can use to relieve your symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is utilized to change behaviors that worsen your condition. Antidepressant medication can also be effective. Discuss this form of treatment with your physician, and check out a clinic like Lincoln Psychiatric Group.