Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness

December is Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness (SAD) month.  Millions of people in the USA have seasonal depression.  As it gets colder and the days grow shorter people can start to feel blue.  But for more than 10 million Americans the seasonal blues have become a greater more serious condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The symptoms of SAD include lethargy, lack of motivation and moodiness.  These sufferers can experience anxiety, social withdrawal, food cravings and weight gain, oversleeping and have difficulty concentrating. In extreme cases, sufferers may even have thoughts of death and suicide.
Women, especially those in their teens, comprise the largest group of people affected by SAD.  But it also affects children, teens and men. Often there is a close relative with a depressive disorder or alcohol abuse.
The symptoms of SAD emerge in the darkest winter months.  Then, they disappear as the days become longer and grow brighter in the spring.
SAD is totally treatable through a variety of methods.
1) Light Therapy.  Light therapy boxes mimic the outdoors.  They are obtainable without a prescription.  They cost about $400.00 and are not covered by insurance. They should be used for about 30 minutes in the morning before going to work or beginning your day’s activities.
2) Professional help.  It is important to contact a medical professional who can help you discern if this is a case of SAD or if you’re just depressed because of some old associations with the holiday season. Also, if necessary, a medical professional can prescribe anti-depressants.
3) Travel. If you can do it, plan on taking a vacation at this time of year to a warmer, sunnier climate.
4) Maintain your relationship with family and friends. Continue going to church, committee meetings book clubs and any other regular activities.
5) Physical activity. Research has shown that exercise is beneficial to offset SAD symptoms. Exercise raises levels of serotonin, responsible for regulating mood. Aerobic activity can boost your mood and chase the blues away.
One thing to be aware of is that because SAD occurs in the holiday season, don’t think that you can self-medicate with alcohol. It will only compound your problems.
For more information on SAD, contact the Kabb Law Firm: 216-991-KABB(5222).