Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Part II

Last week, we described the signs and symptoms of SAD.  This week we are focusing on natural treatment options and preventative measures.  While SAD can’t be cured, the options below can certainly help to relieve your symptoms.  Natural treatment and preventative measures for SAD typically consists of light therapy, mental well-being, a healthy diet and physical conditioning.

Light Therapy.  In addition to being key in the prevention of seasonal affective disorder, regular exposure to light that is bright, particularly fluorescent lights, significantly improves depression in people with this disorder, especially during the fall and winter months.  Light therapy is commercially available in the form of light boxes, which are used for approximately 30 minutes per day. The light required must be of sufficient brightness, approximately 25 times as bright as a normal living room light. Contrary to prior theories, the light does not need to be actual daylight from the sun. It seems that it affective disorder. The most common possible side effects associated with light therapy include irritability, insomnia, headaches, and eyestrain.

Mental Well-Being.  As with many other forms of depression, a key component to treatment includes counseling with a therapist.  Individual, group, or family options are available and these sessions will help cultivate ways to handle the symptoms, and how to help prevent future depressive episodes. If you have had SAD for a long time, your family members may also benefit from counseling as well.  While it may be difficult to be social while in a depression, simple outings such as dinner or coffee with a close friend help to keep your mood and outlook positive.

Diet & Physical Conditioning.  Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise during the holiday season certainly has its challenges!  A little restraint goes a long way, and with a busy, but well-planned social calendar, healthy eating days can be planned in advanced.  While diets tend to be customized accordingly to your metabolic needs, the general rule of thumb for a health meal consists of leafy greens, lean proteins while reducing as much as possible, refined sugars, sodium, saturated fats and simple carbohydrates.   Finding it difficult to get out to the gym in this weather?   Look at exercises that can be performed at home with limited space, or bundle up and go for a hike around the neighborhood and try to discover something new about where you live!  Eating right and exercising are critical to an overall healthy lifestyle and can be achievable with a little planning.

While not considered a typical treatment for SAD, there are many benefits of integrating chiropractic care into your treatment and prevention plan.   A healthy central nervous system and spine are important to maintaining physical and emotional well-being.  Chiropractors take a natural approach by correcting vertebral subluxations and reducing nerve interferences in the spine.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our introductory series on SAD.  If think we can help you, or are interested in learning more about chiropractic care and how it can benefit, please contact us!