Last Updated on November 18, 2021 by Ben Lesser
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a severe type of clinical depression that usually occurs at around the same time every year, generally in winter. Also known as a seasonal affective disorder, SAD will affect your mood, energy, sleep, appetite, and sexuality, taking a significant toll on all areas of your life, from your social life and daily work to your sexual activity. It can also impact how you feel about yourself, which can make you feel unworthy and depressed.
If You or Someone You Know May Be Suffering from Here Are Some Natural Treatments that May Be Able to Help:
- Keeping up good relationships with others
- Working hard at work (e.g., coming in, being on time, and keeping up with responsibilities, etc.)
- Taking care of oneself (e.g., taking care of hygiene, eating well, sleeping well, getting regular medical and dental checkups, etc.)
- Taking care of household tasks (e.g., budgeting, keeping up with maintenance, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc.)
Unfortunately, many people struggling with depression and SAD do not seek treatment. Rather, they use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate the issue.
The result may be the emergence of a drug use disorder, including addiction, that does not go away with the change of seasons. It is time to seek care if signs of seasonal affective disorder or a co-occurring substance use disorder become disruptive. For assistance in locating the best program for you, please call us at the number mentioned above.
Understanding Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Signs of Seasonal affective disorder are not hard to find. Almost everyone has been affected by them at one time or another. The symptoms are unpleasant and can ruin your usual way of living. The following symptoms characterize SAD: depression, excessive sweating, hot flashes, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, palpitations, muscle tension, trouble sleeping, muscle weakness, and muscle pain. Sometimes, these symptoms can be so severe that they interfere with day-to-day activities.
SAD Symptoms, Like the Rest of The Symptoms Described Below, Can Be Brought About by A Change in The Weather:
- Weight fluctuations, most often weight gain
- Sleep changes, normally an improvement in the amount of time spent sleeping
- Lack of attention and emphasis
- Lack of interest in hobbies, previous interests, jobs, home, and so on
- Isolation from family and friends
- Irritability and agitation are symptoms of irritability and agitation
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Treatment Needed
SAD is a serious condition that becomes even more severe without treatment. Some of the causes of suicide include bipolar disorder, depression, suicide thoughts, and/or behavior.
Several theories suggest that this disorder is triggered by changes in the Earth’s seasonality, such as extreme cold or extreme warmth during the winter and summer months. Although scientists have yet to find a definitive reason, they have discovered that people who live in areas where the weather is unpredictable experience more excellent rates of depression. Other theories suggest that the disorder is caused by a person’s tendency to use seasonal factors to control their lives. For instance, a person who wants to stay active during the summer months but needs to exercise more when winter arrives would likely develop the disorder’s symptoms.
Symptoms of SAD can range from mild to severe depression depending on its severity. Those who suffer from less severe episodes can still benefit from treating the symptoms properly by taking advantage of sunlight therapy and light therapy. Doctors also recommend making healthier choices for diet and using mood-stabilizing drugs. By spending more time outdoors and getting enough sunlight, those with bipolar disorder can still enjoy a happier life without being constantly depressed and anxious about the future.
Stats and Facts of Seasonal Affective Disorder
According to The American Academy of Family Physicians, Seasonal Affective Disorder Has Following Facts:
- Women are more likely than men to suffer from SAD
- SAD affects an estimated four to six per cent of the American population
- A mild form of SAD is thought to affect between 10% and 20% of the general population
- Some SAD symptoms appear during adolescence; however, few people experience SAD symptoms until they are over the age of 20
- The SAD risk decreases with age; seniors are less likely to develop the disorder
- Symptoms are cyclical and appear to reoccur on an annual basis
Symptoms of Summer-Onset Seasonal Affective Disorder
Summer-onset SAD accounts for 10 percent of all SAD patients rather than winter-onset SAD.
The Symptoms of The Condition in The Winter Months May Differ from Those of The Issue in The Summer Months, and May Include:
- Weight loss and decreased appetite
- Sleeping difficulties
- An increase in anxiety
- Excessive irritability and agitation
Symptoms are difficult to come by since the affliction can go undetected for up to six months. This means that many people will go undiagnosed until their late 70s or even 80s. There is also some confusion surrounding the cause behind SAD. Researchers know that it is a genetic disorder, but they are unsure if environmental factors play a role in causing this condition. Environmental factors have also been linked to cases of SAD in both men and women.
SAD Stats and Facts are hard to find because many people feel that they are a rare case. They are not aware of the vast number of people who go through this disorder each year. SAD affects millions of people in the United States alone each year. That means that more people need help for SAD than you could ever count. However, once you learn about SAD stats and facts, you will recognize this condition and seek help before it gets worse.
Seasonal Affective Disorder Stats and Facts show that this disease tends to run in families. Research has also shown that it runs in families that have a history of depression or anxiety problems. Also, studies have shown that those who come from families where depression or anxiety is shared are more likely to develop the disease. Also, those who drink alcohol on a regular basis are at higher risk.
Light Therapy as Treatment for SAD
Since the SAD is most frequently diagnosed in areas with little sunlight for prolonged periods of time, light therapy can be an important part of treatment and rehabilitation for patients, according to numerous studies, including one published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Patients Are Advised To:
- Before starting treatment, visit an eye doctor for a check-up
- In the morning, use a light box or a lamp
- Look in the direction of the light but not directly at the source of the light
- Every day, use the light box or lamp for 30 minutes
- Follow all instructions for using the light source and ask questions
- Report any unfavourable side effects, such as eye pressure, headache, or psychotic episodes
- Report the use of any drugs that may make them light-sensitive (e.g., psoriasis medications, antipsychotic medications, and/or antibiotics)
Generally, symptoms of SAD should diminish within a month when light therapy is effective. Light therapy is not used with tanning beds and cannot be used to treat SAD.
Additional Treatment Options for SAD
The chances of light therapy proving effective are only 50% for patients who take part in this treatment. Treatment options include various treatments that can reduce symptoms or even eliminate them if needed.
Patients can recover from depressive symptoms with the help of medications, especially antidepressants. If light therapy or behavioral therapy proves to be effective in the long term, these treatments may not be required. Other recommended treatments include behavioral therapy. By changing lifestyle and addressing perception issues, patients can improve the quality of their lives by enjoying positive things in life and managing their symptoms.
This therapy can be used by anyone wanting their symptoms to go away this winter and spring! It is a great natural remedy option that will help relieve mood swings, fatigue, hot flashes, oily skin, dry skin, and eye irritation. The bright light of natural sunlight stimulates the body’s crude production of melatonin, responsible for regulating moods.
Another great thing about Light Therapy as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder is that it is a cost-effective way of treating all of those symptoms! So if you decide that you want to try this method, there are many different types of treatments available! You could look at getting a unique desk lamp to help brighten your mood. You could also get specially designed lamps and solariums that will help absorb the sunlight so that it doesn’t enter your room.
Tips for Managing SAD
If you are having problems managing your stress and depression, the following tips for dealing with it may come in quite handy. First of all, make sure you do not let yourself become too stressed out. For most people, this can be hard to do, especially during the holidays. You might need to take a break now and then to relax. The important thing is to recognize when you are becoming overly stressed out. Once you do this, you will then avoid situations that trigger stress and help you manage it properly.
A great way to take care of both your physical and emotional health is by eating correctly. You may not realize this, but certain foods can help reduce physical and emotional stress symptoms. These foods include nuts, seeds, and soy-based products. You may also want to consider taking up a new hobby or joining a gym so that you get a chance to work out with other people and possibly find new friends.
While there is no known cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are things you can do to treat your symptoms and bring your mood and energy back on track. First of all, make sure that you are eating correctly and getting the right amount of exercise. Be careful to avoid foods that trigger these symptoms, such as certain berries, chocolate, egg yolks, and caffeine. Eating healthy can not only help you feel better in general, but it can also help to lower the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Various Life Changes Can Increase Proficient Treatment and Help Patients to All the More Rapidly and Adequately Beat Their Manifestations. These Include:
- Resting and waking every day
- Getting sufficient rest every evening
- Eating an excellent overall arrangement of organic products, vegetables, entire grains, good fats, and protein while restricting salt, sugar, and immersed fats.
- Yoga and exercise on daily basis
- Putting forth an attempt to participate in exercises that are fun and agreeable
- Following a medicine or potentially nutrient routine according to the particulars of the endorsing doctor
- Tending to results or continuous issues with a clinical expert
- Focusing on demolishing indications of despair and announcing them right away
- Having the arrangement to address gloom side effects if they start to increment
- Avoiding medications and liquor
- Don’t be afraid to express feelings or conditions to doctors or family.
Substance Abuse is an Issue:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, having a dual diagnosis comes with quite a few different issues, and knowing these other issues is crucial to successful treatment and recovery. With addictions, dealing with a psychological issue and substance abuse isn’t uncommon.
Nearly 1 in 4 individuals who have a mental disorder also suffer from a substance abuse problem. Although there are many types of mental disorders and addictions, the most common substance abuse type is alcohol or drug abuse. Understanding what each of these disorders looks like and why they can help you find a treatment plan that works.
Furthermore, NIDA discovered that more than 20% of those diagnosed with a depression disorder abused drugs and alcohol. Since it is so common for patients to suffer with both depression and drug abuse, much study has been conducted to determine the most appropriate types of care in these cases.
Once upon a time, it was thought necessary to address the drug or alcohol addiction first, then shift the focus of therapy to coping with the depressive disorder. However, decades of research has shown that treating Dual Diagnosis patients with comprehensive care intervention for both conditions at the same time is much more effective and long-lasting.
With Dual Diagnosis Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder and Addiction, the best place to begin is with a drug-treatment centre, especially one that specializes in dual diagnosis treatments. Once the initial symptoms appear, the symptoms of both problems are treated, and they are both treated together healthily. If you suffer from depression, you should seek help from your doctor, who may prescribe medication for you to take, but in the end, it could be that your medication will only mask the problem instead of treating it. Dual Diagnosis Treatment of SAD and Addiction will help find the root of the problem and treat both problems simultaneously.
SAD and Addiction Treatment with A Dual Diagnosis
A genuinely successful treatment programme does more than just include a generic treatment plan that is not tailored to each individual patient. Rather, successful Dual Diagnosis therapy would include targeted clinical care that is tailored to the particular problems that each patient faces when attempting to control symptoms induced by SAD and addiction. As a result, anyone who enters Dual Diagnosis rehab should begin their recovery with a thorough evaluation.
After That, They Should Combine Any of The Following Treatments:
- The detox process. Medicinal issues associated with substance abuse are addressed in this article. It is especially useful for addicts of opiates (like heroin or opiates used as painkillers), alcoholics, and those dependent on drugs that trigger withdrawal symptoms.
- Individual therapy. During treatment, this helps patients address any issues they are facing as well as those they confronted prior to the onset of addiction and/or SAD.
- Therapy in groups. SAD and substance abuse sufferers will benefit from group therapy when they are treated through directed group sessions.
- Enhancing treatments. A person who undergoes alternative therapies, holistic treatments, and other individualized therapies that address issues that impair their healing potential could benefit from rehabilitation. Life coaching, parenting classes and job skills sessions can be found among the available options.
- Support on an ongoing basis. In order to maintain a successful recovery after leaving rehab, patients typically require continued support. Those who are diagnosed with dual disorders can be assisted in staying successful in recovery after returning home with professional Dual Diagnosis programs.
Call Now, and Don’t Wait
If you’re concerned about your loved one experiencing SAD or substance abuse or addiction, take steps now to ensure they receive the treatment services that will help them move forward with their recovery. We’re standing by to assist you with matching your loved ones to the best possible program. Please call the number listed above today and get information about seasonal affective disorder.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.