The Midwinter Blues Could Be Sad: An Expert Guide to Treatments | Health, Medicine and Fitness
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Although the days are getting noticeably longer, if you’re feeling down this winter, you could be suffering from a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
SAD, which typically begins when daylight decreases in the fall, affects about 5% of American adults. It is more common in women than in men and in people with a history of depression. According to Dr. Riley Manion of Penn State Health Medical GroupâProspect in Columbia, Pennsylvania, it can cause sluggishness, insomnia, overeating, and weight gain.
Manion has described a number of treatments for SAD.
One remedy is to use a light therapy box which approximates sunlight by providing exposure to 10,000 lux of light. Patients sit 16-24 inches from the box and absorb the rays for 20-30 minutes.
Manion suggested speaking with your doctor before using a light therapy box, as it’s usually not covered by insurance.
Another option is talk therapy.
People with SAD often avoid social activities that might help them feel better, but relying on “counselling can help them develop more coping skills,” Manion said in a Penn State press release. .
Therapists can help people SAD changing negative thought patterns and becoming more socially active.
Some people with SAD take supplements vitamin D supplements to replace the levels usually obtained from sunlight. And doctors sometimes prescribe antidepressants for people with more severe cases of SAD, Manion noted.
As the days get longer, the symptoms lessen for many people. But Manion said it’s best to be ready before the SAD season starts next fall.
Start when you set your clock back one hour in November. “Take a vitamin D supplement or start your light therapy,” she recommended.
SOURCE: Penn State Health, press release, February 3, 2022
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