As summer fades away and becomes a happy memory, and as the weather turns cool, the length of the days decreases. Earlier and earlier, the sun vanishes and the evening’s darkness creeps in. This is just a small irritation to some people, but to others, it can mean an immense shift in mood, and even the onset of seasonal affective disorder, or seasonal depressive disorder.
Shed Some Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder
The symptoms for this annual experience are similar enough to any number of other depressive disorders, ranging from change in sleep and appetite to energy levels and motivation. “Often the symptoms are bearable until late afternoon when moods darken along with an early sunset,” because the decrease in exposure to natural light, sunlight, can take a huge toll on a person, particularly when it happens day after day.
Of course, your potential to be affected by all this is influenced hugely by where you live (such as northern versus southern states), your age, and your gender. Simply put, seasonal affective disorder can play a huge role in the lives of a diverse array of people, and that role is never a positive one. It’s also not as well understood as it could be, given that the full effects of daylight on mood and the brain haven’t yet been really fleshed out. What is known is that the presence of light increases or decreases certain hormone levels, which obviously has great sway over mood and state of mind.
This isn’t a new issue, though, and so there are some ways to combat this depressive disorder. Most suggestions will head in the direction of purchasing and utilizing a light box, which is exactly what it sounds like. It produces lux, or light intensity, which would be comparable to that of the natural light that the person is lacking. “The light intensity ranges from 2,500 to 10,000 lux and one is supposed to sit about 1–2 feet away from the box for about 30 minutes early in the morning.”
Some people who are struggling with seasonal affective disorder may be able to take other steps, such as incorporating a morning walk into their schedules, but this is dependent on whether they have the time and on the weather itself. This is why many opt for an indoor solution that should be used in the morning, but which can really be utilized whenever there is time. If this alone isn’t enough to make a difference in the person’s mood, then there are some other options, such as therapy, medication, or a mix of both.
With medication specifically, there can be positive effects based solely on the fact that much of what is needed with a depressive disorder is an adjustment of brain chemicals. “Antidepressants work by increasing serotonin activity to compensate for the decreased activity of this brain chemical; an activity decrease attributed to decreased daylight.” Medication isn’t always appealing to patients, which is where therapy minus a prescription would be helpful, so that the individual can find ways to cope and to adjust their habits and activities to better account for this shift in mood with the help of a trained counselor.
Don’t wait until spring to feel better. You can overcome seasonal affective disorder in one way or another if you do some research of your own and speak with a mental health expert about how best to incorporate healthy changes into your life. In order to do this, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including aid with a depressive disorder. We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]