Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is clinically accepted as a form of depression. The following are just a few examples of how this disorder can be treated:
- Bright Light therapy using a SAD Lamp
Those who suffer are advised to use a bright light SAD lamp every day (ideally during the morning) for a set period of time. The bright light received by the eyes and brain trigger cortisol and serotonin production, that may help increase energy and reduce low mood, depression and food cravings.
- Dawn simulation using a Sunrise Alarm Clock
Sunrise alarm clocks imitate the rising dawn and are widely used by SAD sufferers to help getting up in the morning and falling asleep at night. Walking with the light every day will help maintain a good and healthy sleeping pattern and will also improve your mood, productivity, motivation and energy levels throughout the day.
- A healthy balanced diet
Nadia Mason, bodykind's Consultant Nutritional Therapist says; "Carbohydrate cravings are often reported by individuals suffering with SAD. This could be due to the fact that carbohydrate increases the uptake of an amino acid (building blocks of protein) called tryptophan. Tryptophan is used in the synthesis of serotonin, the good mood brain chemical. If serotonin levels are good then appetite is often normalised and cravings are less likely to occur".
Studies have been proven that a regular exercise routine may enhance your mood. A light activity of exercise can make a huge improvement on how you feel throughout the day. Try walking to the shop rather than taking the bus. An aim of 30 minutes a day is all you need to get the heart going and feeling a little more healthier.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy / counselling
There is indication that counselling or similar therapy is very useful in individuals dealing with SAD and low mood in winter. For more information please visit The Royal College of Psychiatrists or Mind, the mental health charity.
Please see What is Light Therapy? for details on the different types of light therapy devices available.