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New Developments in SAD Treatment

Written by Courteney

Posted on January 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression, often syncing up with fall and winter and easing off again in the spring. Winter brings days that get shorter and darker, weather that often leaves us stuck inside more, and trees that are barren and colorless. The sun can be a scarce commodity during gray winter days as well, so it makes sense that many people struggle with the season.

How Common is SAD?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, SAD is quite a prevalent mood disorder. While 4-6% of the population experiences severe SAD, up to 20% of Americans may have a mild form of the condition. It is more common women and most often affects adults aged 20 years and older.

How Was It Traditionally Treated?

SAD has been approached similarly to depression in the past, with a combination of talk therapy and antidepressants. The benefits of light therapy have also been used for years in combination with other treatment. In many cases, light therapy can even work as the sole treatment for SAD.

New Developments in Light Therapy

Trial and error experimentation with light therapy over the years has led us to the modern treatment dosage of half an hour of 10,000-lux diffused fluorescent light each morning as well as natural light whenever possible. According to Columbia University Psychologist, Michael Terman, a patient’s remission rate sky rockets to 80% if the light therapy is personalized to the person’s sleep-wake cycle.

New Ideas on Therapy

There has actually been some interested in the idea of negative ions in the supplemental treatment for SAD in recent years. It appears to have a positive impact on some SAD and depression sufferers, though its effect on depression has not yet been empirically proven. You can buy light boxes with built in negative ionizers.

Vitamin Deficiencies and Depression  

When you’re deficient or a little low on certain essential vitamins such as vitamin D or some of the B varieties, it can drastically alter your mood. Many people who live in northern environments lack vitamin D because of shorter daylight hours and less sunlight exposure. A vitamin D deficiency can cause depression-like symptoms such as fatigue or moodiness. It also plays a research-established role in depressive disorders.

Other Tips That Can Help SAD Sufferers

  • Try to exercise outdoors
  • Try massage
  • Eat healthy, mood-boosting foods (such as those that contain omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Make sure you manage your stress
  • Make plenty of time for leisure

That concludes our look at new developments in SAD treatment. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

 

 

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