December is Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness Month
Hopelessness. Unhappiness. Sluggishness. These are just a few of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, additional symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include:
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Increased sleep
- Less energy and ability to concentrate
- Loss of interest in work or other activities
- Social withdrawal
SAD, or a lesser form of it known as the winter blues, affects 20 percent of the U.S. population. The further north you live, the more impact SAD has.
Light therapy can be helpful. There are three things you should know when taking in a dose of light therapy:
- Light intensity – The light used in the treatment simulates early morning daylight
- Light duration – Your daily sessions might range between 20 to 60 minutes
- Time of day of exposure –Your sessions should be based on your sleep cycle and depends on the individual
You can find more resources to help you beat the winter blues at The Center for Environmental Therapeutics. But if your winter blues turn darker and interfere with your daily life, you should contact your behavioral or mental health professional for advice.