Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy on Long Island is a disorder associated with the seasonal changes that can sometimes affect the people of Long Island, and other places with a harsh winter. South Bay Counseling LCSW PC can determine whether or not the issues you are facing may be Seasonal Affective Disorder, or something like Depression. If our therapists determine you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder we can also provide the treatment necessary to decrease the effects of it.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also known as “winter blues” is a type of depression brought on by changes in seasons; specifically it usually begins in the Fall with shorter daylight hours.  The worst seems to be Winter and typically ends in the Spring or Summer.

What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Typically, symptoms of SAD are tiredness, fatigue, sadness or general malaise, crying, irritability, apathy, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, poor sleep or increased sleep, low energy, and appetite changes (overeating), carb craving, and weight gain.

Who can be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder?

4 to 6 percent of people have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Another 10 to 20 percent have mild SAD. SAD is four times more common in women than in men. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn’t start in people younger than age 20. Your chance of getting SAD decreases as you age.

SAD is more common the farther north you go. For example, it’s seven times more common in Washington state than in Florida.

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The exact cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is unknown. The following are likely involved:

  • Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in Fall and Winter may cause Seasonal Affective Disorder. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin levels: A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in Seasonal Affective Disorder. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels: The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

What is the treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy or “talk therapy” focuses on reframing thoughts away from catastrophic thinking.  Challenging thoughts that a person may have when experiencing SAD is a good way to help them get through their depressive stage until springtime helps them naturally regain a more positive mood.
  • Light Therapy is sometimes recommended for mild to moderate cases of SAD. This method uses a special light that emits a certain frequency that mimics sunlight. Sitting under this special light for 30 to 40 minutes a day has proven to be effective.  The light boxes required for this treatment can be purchased online.
  • Medication may be used when symptoms are more severe.
  • Exercise has been proven to be helpful in treating mood disorders in general. Endorphins are released during exercise, which are “feel good” chemicals in the brain.

If you would like to see how Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy on Long Island can cure your winter blues, call South Bay Counseling LCSW PC today at (631) 264-0058 or book an appointment online. Our office is conveniently located in Amityville, NY. We’ve also written a great blog article on SAD. We also provide family counseling services, depression therapy and anxiety therapy to residents of Nassau and Suffolk County and the surrounding areas.