So far, we have described what Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is, as well as how it can impact your life. So what can you do to help with the symptoms? While there is no "cure" for SAD, there are things you can do to minimize and limit the symptoms to cope more effectively. Here are some treatment options:
- Light Therapy. Light therapy is used with a "light box", which is a specially designed device that produces high levels of light and is usually used for 30 minute intervals twice a day (or as prescribed by your doctor).
- Psychotherapy/counseling. As with any form of depression, counseling can greatly assist you in identifying life stresses and learn better ways of coping that aid in depression symptoms.
- Antidepressants. While not all people need antidepressants, if you have tried other methods of coping and seem unable to make improvements with your symptoms (or if they seem to be getting worse), antidepressants may be needed to help with SAD.
- Living a healthy lifestyle. This means trying to keep a regular sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene, eating right, exercising, drinking water, limiting alcohol consumption, and eliminating addictive behaviors.
There are many options to treatment for SAD, though the best treatment for you depends on the severity of your symptoms, as well as the duration for which they have been present. Don't hesitate to contact your doctor or a professional counselor if you identify with SAD symptoms. Help is closer than you realize!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.