Skip to main content

Tips to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Tips to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

More than the Winter Blues

Portland, OR January, 2018 — Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is more than just the winter blues. It is a type of depression that occurs during one season, typically the winter months, and goes away during the rest of the year.  

“When daylight hours start to decrease at the end of summer, people who are more sensitive to the seasonal time change may start to experience symptoms as soon as late August or early September,” Celeste Jones, PsyD, ABPP said. “Others may not develop symptoms until November or December.”

Symptoms of SAD are the same as those of depression. They can vary in severity and often interfere with personal relationships. Symptoms include fatigue, pervasively sad mood, loss of interest, sleep difficulty or excessive sleeping, craving and eating more starches and sweets, weight gain, feelings of hopelessness or despair and thoughts of suicide.

APA and OPA offer these tips to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder:

Experience as much daylight as possible. The lack of sun exposure is part of what causes SAD and soaking up as much as you can, can lessen your symptoms. Sit by a window or get out for a walk during daylight hours. You could even take up a winter sport to get you outside and keep you moving.

Eat healthy. Comfort foods don’t have to be loaded with extra calories and lots of sugar and fat. Get creative and look for hearty, low-calorie recipes that are easy to prepare.  Instead of eating cake and cookies, try making a dessert from seasonal fruits like apples and pears.

Spend time with friends and family. Spending time with your friends and family is a great way to lift your spirits and avoid social isolation. Snuggle with your kids or pets; visit with your friends while drinking a hot cup of tea or play board games with your family. Friends and family can be good to talk to about how the season is affecting you.

Counteract the urge to isolate. Don’t stay cooped up in your house all winter.  Get out and enjoy your community this season. Volunteer, join a local club or go ice skating with your loved ones to start.   

Seek professional help. If you continue to struggle with feelings of depression, you may want to seek help from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist. Research shows that psychotherapy is an effective treatment for depression. A psychologist can help determine if someone has seasonal affective disorder and how best to treat it.

To learn more about depression and related mind/body health issues, visit www.apa.org/helpcenter and follow us on Twitter at @APAHelpCenter. To find out more about Oregon Psychological Association visit opa.org and follow us on Twitter at <@OregonPsychEd>.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.










Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It’s Never Too Late or Too Early to Start Planning for Retirement

Oregon Psychologists Offer Tips to Save for Retirement
Portland, OR, September 1, 2017— It is never too late, or too early, to start planning for retirement. Many people underestimate how much they can or should be saving, and often postpone saving for retirement because it seems far into the future. Beliefs and attitudes about money are often developed early in life and struggling with financial avoidance or denial can lead to stress and unhealthy behaviors. But money matters are too important to ignore.
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) most recent Stress in AmericaTM survey found that 61 percent of Americans reported money as a very or somewhat significant source of stress. Workers can conquer this fear by thinking about what they’re saving for, and planning for how much they will need for living expenses during retirement.
Oregon psychologists offer tips to better save for retirement.
Make saving a priority. If you receive a regular pay check set aside some amount of mo…

Adolescent Development and Risk-Taking in the Columbia River Gorge Forest Fire

An Oregon psychologist's take on psychological and neurocognitive development in adolescence as related to risk-taking behaviors.
Portland, OR, September 15, 2017— In the wake of the Columbia Gorge forest fire this month, Oregonians who have enjoyed the outdoor natural playland are plagued with questions about "How?" and "Why?" this happened. Grief and other emotions run high with the intensity of watching our rest and healing places burn so vigorously. An improved understanding of adolescent neurodevelopment contributes to understanding of the underpinnings of this event. This post seeks to discuss the neuroscience behind risk-taking behaviors in adolescents, reward learning for adolescents, and considerations in parent supervision of adolescents.
Risk-taking in adolescence. Adolescent brain development research tells us that the frontal lobes (those responsible for helping us with planning, organization, and impulse-control) are among the last to reach maturity…

How Does Depression Differ From Occasional Sadness?

October 5 is National Depression Screening Day


Portland, OR, October 1, 2017 — Everyone experiences sadness from time to time, but depression is more than occasional sadness. October 5 is National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), an annual event to raise awareness of the disease and offer screenings for related mood and anxiety disorders.


Next Saturday, October 7, the Out of Darkness Walk is occurring at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, OR! Join us in raising awareness about depression and suicide.


Depression is characterized by extreme sadness or loss of interest that lasts more than several days. If untreated, depression can have harmful effects on the mind and body. It can cause disruptions to daily life and research shows that it may be linked to various chronic illnesses.


Symptoms of depression can include lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, difficulty or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, problems concentrating, feelings of w…