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14 Interesting Facts About Seasonal Affective Disorder

a man learns more about seasonal affective disorder in depression treatment

Feeling the effects of the seasons can be taxing. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) often plays a prominent role in how people feel during different times of the year. Whether a weary winter or the summertime blues, the symptoms of SAD can play a more significant role than many people realize.

Getting depression treatment when you are feeling down could help you have a better outlook on the future. While feelings of sadness are normal, long-term depression can cause strain on your daily life. At Northpoint Seattle, we know how important it is to have help when you need it. Our outpatient treatment programs provide compassionate support while being flexible with your schedule. Get started today by calling 888.483.6031 or reaching out to us online.

A Subtype of Depression


SAD is a Subtype


SAD is a subtype of depression characterized by mood changes that correspond with the different seasons. It is more common in women than men and typically begins around age 20. The condition is also more likely to run in families.

Dependent on the Season


Differences Between Seasons


While most people are more likely to feel the effects of SAD in the winter, some people may feel it during the summer. It is more common to suffer from winter-onset SAD, sometimes called “winter depression.”

Who’s at Risk?


Ones at Risk


While SAD can affect anyone, certain factors may increase your risk. If you live in a place with long, dark winters, you may be more likely to experience winter-onset SAD. If you have a family history of the disorder, you may be more likely to develop it yourself. Other risk factors for SAD include being female and having a history of depression.

Dealing with Daylight


Daylight Plays a Direct Role


One theory about what causes SAD is the change in daylight. In the winter, fewer hours of sunlight may disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This disruption can lead to feelings of fatigue and low energy. Lack of sunlight may also affect the brain’s production of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mood.

Can Medication Help?


Medicine for Winter Blues


While there is no cure for SAD, treatments are available to help lessen the symptoms. If you’re struggling with SAD, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options. Medications such as antidepressants can help improve mood and increase energy levels.

SAD and Stress




Stress can make the symptoms of SAD worse. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to find ways to reduce stress in your life. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and counseling can all help reduce stress.

What Is Light Therapy?


Light Therapy


Light therapy is a common treatment for SAD. This treatment involves sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes to an hour each day. The light from the box mimics natural sunlight and can help improve mood.

Planning Ahead


Planning Ahead


Knowing that you struggle with SAD can help you plan for the upcoming seasons. If you know that the winter months are usually more challenging, try to plan ahead. Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise, and sunlight. You may also want to talk to your doctor about starting light therapy or taking medication before the symptoms start.

Run the SAD Away


Natural Solutions


Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and improve your overall health. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. If you’re feeling down, try getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Talking About Therapy


SAD Talk Therapy


While medications and light therapy are common treatments for SAD, counseling is also effective. Counseling can help you manage stress, understand your thoughts and feelings, and develop coping skills. If you’re struggling with SAD, talk to your doctor about whether counseling may be right for you.

SAD Sugar Cravings


Sugar Cravings


Some people with SAD may crave sugary foods. While there’s no evidence that sugary foods can cause SAD, overeating sugar can worsen the symptoms. If you find yourself craving sweets, try to eat in moderation. Choose healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables instead of sugary desserts.

Test Yourself


Ease of Access


If you’re concerned that you may have SAD, self-tests are available online. These tests can help you identify whether you may be at risk for the disorder. If you think you may have SAD, talk to your doctor. They can help you make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

Not Just a Winter Feeling


Outside of Depression


As you can see, SAD is a real disorder that can affect people in the winter or summer. If you’re struggling with SAD, know that you’re not alone. There are treatments available to help ease the symptoms. With proper treatment, you can enjoy your favorite season without feeling down.

A Risk for Addiction


Risk of Addiction


While SAD is not an addiction, people who suffer from it are at a greater risk of developing one. This risk is because people with SAD often use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate. If you’re struggling with SAD, it’s important to seek help from a doctor or counselor.

The Importance of Getting Help for Depression

Depression can be a very serious mental health condition, but the proper treatment and support can help you overcome it. Professional treatment for depression can provide a wide range of positive benefits that will help improve your quality of life. Here are just some of the benefits of getting treatment for depression:

  • Learn more about the condition – A mental health professional can help you better understand what depression is, how it works, and why you’re experiencing particular symptoms.
  • Develop healthier coping skills – Treatment for depression can help you recognize and manage the thoughts and behaviors contributing to your condition.
  • Discover new strategies for managing symptoms – A mental health professional can guide you in managing your particular symptoms. They may help you develop a plan for managing stress, setting healthy boundaries, or improving communication skills.
  • Identify and address potential triggers – Through therapy, you will become better equipped to recognize the signs of depression coming on and work to avoid potential triggers.
  • Gain a better understanding of yourself – Treatment for depression can help you gain valuable insight into your own thoughts, feelings, motivations, and behaviors.
  • Cultivate healthier relationships – By developing healthier coping skills through therapy, you will be able to build stronger relationships with others that are based on respect and understanding.
  • Support and guidance – Professional treatment for depression can provide you with the emotional support and guidance you need to navigate the ups and downs of life.
  • Access to collaboration and resources – A mental health professional can help connect you to other healthcare providers, community resources, or helpful organizations that offer additional services and support.

Getting professional treatment for depression is an essential step in taking control of your mental health and leading a healthier, happier life. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, reach out to Northpoint Seattle today to start your recovery journey.

Depression Treatment at Northpoint Seattle

If you’re struggling with SAD, the team at Northpoint Seattle can help. We offer various treatment options for depression, including medical intervention and counseling. We also have many resources to help you cope with stress. Contact us today by calling 888.483.6031 to learn more about our depression treatment services. You can also reach us by completing our online contact form.

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14 Interesting Facts about Seasonal Disorder