It’s not unusual for moods to dim during winter months. The days are shorter and the weather is typically worse, keeping many of us indoors. If your mood continues to stay dark, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
If misery loves company, sufferers of SAD are far from lonely. The National Center for Biotechnology Information tells us that about 14 percent of the US population experiences SAD. In this article, we’ll explain what SAD is, discuss its symptoms and share strategies that could prevent you from experiencing it.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is more than just a case of the winter blues, it’s a recurring form of depression that revolves around the seasons. While the symptoms are temporary, it is a condition that the American Psychological Association has dubbed a serious mental health problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the decrease in our exposure to sunlight during winter months may impact our bodies in a number of ways, such as initiating a reduction in our levels of serotonin – a natural and powerful neurotransmitter – and reducing our levels of melatonin, which are critical to maintaining normal sleep patterns.
What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Because SAD is a form of depression, the main thing to look for is if your symptoms occur and persist mainly during the winter months. Symptoms to be aware of include dogged instances of low self-esteem, thoughts of harming yourself, low sex drive, eagerness to withdraw from others, low energy and changes in your appetite.
Things You Can Do to Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder
Exercise. Yes, it’s hard to exercise when the ground is frozen and the weather is lousy. But regular exercise – even if it’s indoors – has been proven to have tremendous effectiveness in battling depression.
Socialize. Even if it’s sharing a cup of coffee, nuzzling with your kids, or grooming your pet, spending time with those you love is a great way to prevent SAD.
Get out of the house. Again, we get it: spending the day curled up on a nice couch is tough to beat. But staying indoors only feeds the cycle of depression.
Eat a healthy diet. One of the biggest signs of depression is a craving for the carbs. Rather than opting for junk food, try a hearty vegetable stew instead.
Relax. Depression often zaps our levels of energy and motivation. When even small stressors become big ones, it’s time to take action. Whether it’s massage, tai chi or acupuncture, do what you can to reduce your stress level. Relax. Give yourself a break. Fall and winter can be a high-stress time of year, and if you’re suffering from SAD, it can be even harder to cope.
See your doctor. If your dark moods continue, it’s probably time to talk with your doctor, so that an individualized plan of action can be initiated to get you feeling better.
Deep TMS Therapy Showing Promise as Cure for Depression
As mentioned earlier, your body is a tremendous weapon in the fight against SAD and depression in general. Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) is an approach that leverages the power of electromagnetic pulses to increase communication within your brain, and can help to treat SAD for those that are already affected by it..
How Does Deep TMS Work?
First off, deep TMS is noninvasive, requires no sedation and is performed as an outpatient procedure. It transmits magnetic pulses through a specialized cap worn by the patient to stimulate areas of the brain that aren’t working as well as they should.
Research into deep TMS has generated quite a buzz within the medical world, and it is offered at facilities throughout the US. Patients interested in seeking deep TMS for treatment of their depression are encouraged to ask for a recommendation from their doctor. For those seeking Los Angeles seasonal affective disorder treatments, Westside Neurotherapeutics can provide dTMS. For more information, contact the company by phone at 310.946.0008 or online at www.neurotherapeutics.com.