seasonal affective disorder

How To Turn The Winter SAD Away

Millions of people the world over respond to the changing seasons differently. For some, they’re a time of uplifting joy and happiness; for others, it’s the onset of a depressive season. Even those who don’t experience depression the rest of the year can find the changing weather and reduced sunlight is impacting their experience. This experience is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder and is recognized as a form of environmentally sourced depression. We’re here to provide some guidance that can help you and your family survive the winter season.

How To Turn The Winter SAD Away

The first step when addressing SAD is speaking to your healthcare provider. As a form of depression, it’s important that you involve your mental health professional in this discussion. This will provide an opportunity to ensure that the condition is properly diagnosed so targeted treatment can begin. It will also eliminate the possibility that some other form of depression is affecting you. Other ways you can help your family get through winter this year and each one to follow is:

  • Prepare Yourself In Fall: As you start preparing your home to weather the winter, it’s a good time to get your mind in the game too. This may mean setting up social activities and things to keep you busy. Idleness and isolation are common components in those experiencing SAD.
  • Let The (Full Spectrum) Light In: You can also try changing out the bulbs in your home for full-spectrum lights. These mimic the rays of the sun and can have a positive effect on your overall seasonal depression. Specialized phototherapy boxes are another way that those with SAD get the extra “sun”light they need to overcome their symptoms.
  • The Dawn Come And Bring Joy To You: These devices play a similar role as the full-spectrum lighting and lightboxes. They help alleviate SAD by gradually increasing the light in the room in a manner similar to natural dawn. The most effective versions use the full-spectrum lights listed above.
  • Antidepressants May Help: Sometimes, medication may be called for to help provide you with the boost you need to overcome SAD. They are shown to be most effective when combined with psychotherapy and light therapy. For those experiencing SAD, antidepressants are a temporary measure that can be weaned off in the Spring.
  • Get Your Social On – Staying connected with people is one of the most important steps you can take to control your seasonal depression. The changing weather and waning hours of light can cause people to isolate themselves more than they would in the Summer months. Isolation can be particularly impactful for those who have an active lifestyle.

These tips can help your entire family fare just a little bit better during the darkest nights of the year.

Your Mental Health Provider Can Suggest More Tips

Your mental health professional is going to be your best ally in battling SAD in you and your family. They can help confirm that seasonal depression is what you’re dealing with. They can then offer effective treatment techniques to help you see your way through the season.

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Helene A. Miller / And Other Providers
Family Psychiatry and Therapy brings compassion, understanding, and skilled care to patients throughout New Jersey. Our team of mental health professionals focuses on providing a positive and uplifting experience that aids our patients in facing life’s toughest challenges.