Be In The Know: Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the temperature continues to drop and the days of sunlight become shorter, it is common to notice a difference in your mood and health patterns. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of seasonal depression that is triggered through the change of the seasons, primarily in the winter. It’s important to take every case of depression seriously because all forms can spring significant limitations on people’s ability to function throughout their daily routines. If you find that the change in season is beginning to impact your mood, then here are a few tips to help combat the symptoms of SAD.

1. Light Therapy

The use of light therapy boxes has become a trend in certain parts of the world that don’t receive enough sunlight throughout the year. Light therapy is a treatment that is often used to contribute to the improvement of SAD symptoms. Light therapy boxes will mimic the bright light of the sun in order to lessen depressive symptoms and boost serotonin.

2. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

People who have been diagnosed with SAD have often reported difficulties with their sleep schedule, especially waking up in the morning. In order to alleviate some of the symptoms of SAD, maintaining a consistent schedule for sleep can improve your sleeping patterns and your overall mood.

3. Vitamin D

Particularly during the winter months, some people lose a significant amount of Vitamin D that they would normally receive while being out in the sun. Since there is less sunlight during the winter, it is important to integrate a dose of Vitamin D with your other daily vitamins. Taking Vitamin D for SAD has also been known to act as a placebo effect in order to boost your mood. Make sure to ask a doctor if including Vitamin D into your regime would be beneficial for you.

4. Talk With Your Doctor

Although these tips might be helpful for SAD, there are some individuals that need advice from a medical professional. When it comes to depression, it is always best to seek the guidance of a doctor or therapist to provide better options for your personal care. These tips can be beneficial for anyone who is affected by SAD, however, I am not a medical professional and these tips should not substitute for gaining necessary advice from a doctor.  

Please remember that if your experiencing any severe symptoms of depression or are having any suicidal thoughts, these should not be ignored. Muhlenberg offers on-campus counseling services and resources that are available off campus. You can also reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.