Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that begins and ends around the same time each year. SAD tends to start in the fall and continue into the winter months. The days get shorter, the weather gets colder and less pleasant, and people are less likely to engage in outdoor activities. While SAD is temporary, it can have a big impact on your quality of life during the season. That’s why it is a good idea to get therapy to elevate your mood. Fortunately, virtual online therapy is accessible, convenient, and effective.
What are the Symptoms of SAD?
People with SAD tend to suffer from symptoms similar to those of other forms of depression, including low energy, a feeling of hopelessness, withdrawal from social situations, sleepiness or insomnia, changes in appetite and body weight, poor concentration, and more. The exact cause of seasonal depression isn’t understood but there are several theories: lack of sunlight disrupting people’s circadian rhythms; lack of sunlight triggering changes in levels of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin; low vitamin D levels.
People who live in farther northern latitudes are more likely to be affected by SAD because they get less sunlight during winters.
SAD often occurs because people have low levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation—that can cause them to feel depressed during these times of year. Sunlight triggers changes in the levels of hormones such as serotonin, melatonin and cortisol. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with seasonal affects like depression and anxiety.
How Common is It?
it’s estimated that between 50-70% of Americans experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which means there are millions of people living with this condition across the globe! However, not all cases will meet criteria for official diagnosis; some individuals may show symptoms only once per year or even less frequently than that depending on their location relative to latitude/altitude etc.
People who live in warmer climates have a longer summer season with more sunlight than their counterparts living in colder regions do. For example, Los Angeles has an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and gets ample sunlight, which is why SAD is less common there. However, people in northern regions like New York and Boston are more prone to this problem because of their longer and more intense winters.
Does Online Virtual Therapy Help?
For most people, therapy is a good treatment for seasonal depression. Patients can work with therapists to develop coping mechanisms and determine how to overcome this problem. There are different options like light therapy, traditional therapy sessions, and lifestyle changes to help you overcome the problem.
Light therapy involves sitting near a special light box for about half an hour or an hour daily during the fall and winter months. However, it isn’t a replacement for proper counselling sessions with a certified therapist.
Online virtual therapy has made it easier for people to deal with SAD. Here’s a look at some of the advantages:
- eTherapy is very accessible. You can attend sessions from any location as long as you have access to the internet.
- Online therapy is also more affordable than traditional therapy.
- You can attend sessions discreetly from the comfort of your home.
- There are different mediums of communication available. Some patients prefer to attend sessions through text or emails while others prefer video calls.
If someone wants help with Seasonal Depression but doesn’t have access or means of getting treatment through usual channels, they can try online therapy. Most popular online therapy platforms offer a few free virtual therapy sessions. You can attend these to determine if they are a good choice for you.
Seasonal depression is a common condition that affects people all across the world. Although it can be difficult to manage, therapy can be an effective treatment option for many people who suffer from SAD. If you think you might have SAD this season, consult your doctor or therapist about different treatment options that would benefit your situation.
1. Is seasonal affective disorder a real issue?
Yes, seasonal affective disorder is a real issue that affects thousands of people all over the world, especially those living in colder regions. While it isn’t as impactful as clinical depression, it can cause a great deal of distress to patients.
2. Is there home treatment for seasonal affective disorder?
Light treatment has been recommended to people suffering from seasonal affective disorder but it can be a bit challenging to get a special light box set up at home to replicate sunlight. A dedicated therapist will provide effective solutions that fit your means and circumstances.
3. Is there such a thing as seasonal or ‘winter’ depression?
Yes, seasonal depression usually occurs during winter when people are more like to spend time indoors and are less exposed to sunlight. It is easy to dismiss this as the ‘blues’ but SAD can have a significant negative impact on a person’s quality of life.