Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Season affective disorder may be one of the most misunderstood illnesses in pantheon of psychology.   Most people do not understand the nature of the disorder, and many of those who are able to define it incorrectly feel like it is a less than serious problem.   But for the millions of people who are coping with seasonal affective disorder the problem is as real as it gets.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a psychiatric condition in which the individual experiences significant episodes of depression and malaise during certain seasons of the year.  SAD can strike people from all walks of life, but generally affects those living in cold or rainy climates.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?

There are several common signs and symptoms of SAD that affect most people who suffer from the condition.  They include:

  • Depression – Individuals with SAD can quickly sink into depressive episodes that last days or weeks depending upon the time of the year.
  • Poor eating habits and significant weight gain
  • Fatigue and malaise
  • Mood swings and irritable behavior – Individuals with SAD can be “set off” without warning and may be unkind to those closest to them.
  • Isolations and an avoidance of friends, family and common social situations

Although these symptoms are not life-threatening they keep the individual from enjoying life to the fullest and often grow worse if the condition is left untreated.

Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

The following represent a series of simple tips to help individuals suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Not every individual will respond to these activities, but each is easy to do and well worth the effort.

  • Get outside as much as possible.  Even when the weather is cold and dreary, individuals should force themselves to go outside and get some fresh air.
  • Spend at least an hour a day exposed to natural light.  Whether it is accomplished by taking a relaxing walk, or simply sitting outside and reading a book, there are immeasurable health benefits to be achieved by spending sixty minutes outside during the day.
  • Move your desk near direct sunlight.  Get approval from your employer to move your workspace close a window where a considerable amount of light shines through.
  • Open up the shades at home.  Do not sit around the house all day with shades or window coverings closed.  Opening up your home to more natural light will enhance your mood and diminish some of the symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder.

Still having trouble coping with seasonal affective disorder?

For those individuals who have tried the seasonal affective disorder coping strategies above and are still struggling with the condition, there are treatment programs available to help.   Many facilities that help individuals cope with depression or personal crises are also well equipped to treat seasonal affective disorder.

Moonview Sanctuary offers help for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder.  Through counseling and programs designed to enrich the spirit and strengthen the body, Moonview can help those suffering from SAD enjoy life again.  Contact Moonview Sanctuary today for more information about their Overcoming Personal Crisis program.

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