Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated December 22, 2016

As the clocks are turned back and daylight hours become shorter during the winter, this can take a toll on mental health. An estimated 14 million Americans struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression. Though the exact causes are yet unknown, researchers believe that lack of sunlight decreases serotonin in the brain – serotonin regulates mood.

SAD can affect both physical and mental health. Individuals may feel more tired even though they get adequate sleep, have a lack of interest in things they once enjoyed, be more moody and irritable, have difficulty concentrating, or feel sad or anxious. Northbound conducts mental health assessments to identify whether clients may be battling SAD or other issues so that these problems can be properly addressed and managed in treatment.

There are numerous ways to combat the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder:

  • Light therapy: Light boxes simulate the sun’s rays and can help boost serotonin production. Sitting near windows and getting outside to enjoy natural daylight can help as well.
  • Talk therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can support clients in working through depression and creating an action plan to combat symptoms.
  • Exercise: Staying active during the winter is not only great for your health, but can be a natural mood enhancer. Energize your body and mind by hitting the gym, going for a run, or doing other exercises you enjoy.
  • Fun activities: Engage in activities that you find interesting and fun. This can lighten your mood and keep your mind on more positive things. Meet up with others to share in laughter and good times together as you try new things or pursue your hobbies.

SAD is a very manageable condition. Northbound provides treatment for both substance use and mental health disorders for comprehensive recovery. Clients can create a well-balanced lifestyle that fits their needs and goals while also reducing risk of relapse.

Are you struggling with seasonal affective disorder or other mental health issues? Turn to Northbound for effective treatment options.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.


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