Thursday, February 2, 2012

Treatments For Seasonal Affective Disorder

Continuing on with my discussion on Seasonal Affective Disorder, today I'll be talking about how to treat it. There are a number of ways to treat seasonal affective disorder. Like traditional depression, a combination of medication and therapy may be incredibly helpful.
In regards to therapy, the following steps will likely be discussed:

Another step that can be taken to help treat Seasonal Affective Disorder is the use of light therapy (also known as phototherapy). In this type of therapy "you sit a few feet from a specialized light therapy box so that you're exposed to bright light. Light therapy mimics outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood" (source). An important side note- the light therapy, while helpful, can increase symptoms for those who have bipolar disorder. Please talk to your doctor before purchasing a box!

In the morning while getting ready, eating breakfast, or reading, you can turn on the light and let it hit your eyes. This will mimic the sun and not only help wake you up in the morning, but will help change the levels of chemicals and hormones in your body that will regulate mood, among other things! Some insurance companies will help cover the costs of this, so talk to your doctor! For anyone living in a place with little sunlight in the winter, this can be a great asset to overall health and a feeling of wellness in life! 

As with depression, there are other lifestyle and environmental changes you can make to help aid in treating this disorder. Keep blinds open to allow for light (even if it isn't sunny outside) to fill your house. Get out and move. With depression that's generally one of the last things you want to do, but getting outside and moving can greatly help overall mood. Surrounding yourself with good social supports and not isolating is also incredibly important. 

Now it's your turn:
Have you ever heard of light therapy before? What steps do you take in the winter to keep your mood up? 

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