How to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder
(JEANNE SAGER, HealthWay) If you live in the north, the changing seasons can spell trouble for your health in the form of seasonal affective disorder.
Nicknamed SAD by doctors, seasonal affective disorder mostly affects individuals who – solely because of where they live – come down with seasonal depression.
How to Get Through the Winter
There are both professional treatment options and ways to self manage SAD.
One of the most popular is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
“A typical CBT session would teach the individual how to recognize and challenge negative thoughts and adopt healthy coping strategies,” explains Jade Daniels, a research psychologist with mental health app Woebot.
Another popular treatment is light therapy – exposure to bright light that mimics the sun.
“Get out into the sun whenever you can,” Travis says. But that can be difficult when you’re facing a weather forecast of overcast, grey, cloudy days.
If that’s your reality, light box therapy is an option. Light boxes offer a sun alternative of sorts, exposing the body to stronger lights than a traditional home or office lamp.
“The key here is it needs to be 20 to 60 minute exposure to 10,000 lux of cool fluorescent light, which is more than most household lighting,” Travis explains. “You can’t just sit under a reading lamp.”
Exercise has been shown to help fight traditional depression. While many of us slack off on working out when the snow-blocked sidewalks make it hard to go for a run (or just walk the dog), even simple movement can make a difference.
“It can be moderate walking,” Travis says. “Exercise is a great stress, anxiety, and depression buffer.”
Another option? Establish—or reestablish—a social circle. “It’s easy to isolate in the winter in the north; isolation can be lonely and depressing,” Travis says. READ THE FULL STORY AT HEALTHYWAY. Also of interest: Vegetarian Diet, Depression Linked in Men