Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression related to changes in the seasons. Most people with SAD begin to notice symptoms in the fall and those symptoms continue through the winter months. SAD often causes us to feel moody and may even deplete your energy levels.

SAD is different than clinical depression and may be harder to diagnose. SAD and clinical depression are separate issues from bipolar disorders.

There are effective treatments for seasonal affective disorder including psychotherapy, medication and holistic treatments.

One treatment option for those experiencing SAD is light therapy. This involves the patient sitting in front of a light box within the first hour of waking each day. Light therapy mimics sunlight and may impact mood by stimulating the brain. Be sure to talk with your doctors if you think light therapy may benefit you, to find the best option available.

We would encourage any patient who is experiencing either depression or seasonal affective disorder to talk with a licensed psychotherapist, who is most likely able to identify causes and treatments of these disorders. We also want you to let your doctors, including your chiropractor, know if you are being treated for any form of depression or anxiety.

The mind-body connection also can have a significant impact on seasonal affective disorder. We would encourage you to explore options like meditation, guided imagery, relaxation through yoga or qi gong, music and art therapy.

You can also be sure to get natural sunlight for up to 15 minutes each day (when available) by opening curtains, and cutting back branches to expose more sunlight. Walk, when it’s possible. Even when it’s cold the sun may be out. Exercise regularly as well.

There are also supplements you can take to help relieve symptoms of depression or SAD, including essential oils. Many citrus oils can brighten your mood. You can add a few drops of a happy scent to a diffuser, apply topically to your skin or even add a few drops of ingestible oils to a drink. You can even add your favorite essential oils to your laundry.

Rushmore Family Chiropractic carries a full line of essential oils from Young Living. You are free to sample any of our oils at the front desk (just ask Lucy) or inquire about specific oils that may be of benefit to those experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder. Their “Abundance” and “Christmas Spirit” blends may help cheer you up this holiday season.

Be sure to schedule time with those you love, those who make you feel especially good about yourself and your relationships. Plan at least one fun activity each week in the company of those you feel happy with.