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Monday, December 5, 2016

How Much Do You Know About SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder, aptly deemed SAD, impacts half a million Americans per year – and like other forms of mood disorders, you’re highly susceptible if you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. 

SAD is tied to the change of the seasons and is most often experience during the fall and winter months, when people become plagued by feelings of depression, irritability, and fatigue. It’s more than feeling gloomy on a cold, wet day or feeling a big letdown after the holiday season, however.  It impacts your family life and social life as well as your job, hobbies, and overall wellbeing. 

Here are a few more facts you should know about SAD:

1. SAD is linked to sunlight, not a drop in temperature. A decrease in sunlight has been found to have an impact on the production of melatonin, a chemical in your body known for regulating mood and sleep. 

2. Being a female increases your risk. Studies show that roughly 60 percent to 90 percent of those diagnosed with SAD are females, with the highest risk being among 15 to 55 year olds. 

3. Symptoms differ from depression. There are telltale symptoms, which may be more common in SAD than in other forms of depression, including changes in appetite and sleep, cravings for carbohydrates, and weight gain 

4. You’re only diagnosed with SAD after having symptoms for at least two years in a row. In addition, the SAD episodes must last more than two weeks and outnumber the non-seasonal depressive episodes in one’s lifetime.

5. Since SAD typically happens the same time each year, you can take steps to prevent and/or reduce the symptoms. This includes spending more time outdoors and increasing the light in your home, exercising daily (for at least 30 minutes), journaling, and practicing such stress management techniques as meditation. In addition, light therapy seems to be the gold standard when it comes to treatment, helping 50 to 80 percent of patients with SAD.

Help for Depression and Addiction
Are you suffering from SAD and addiction? Complete Harmony is a CARF-accredited facility offering integrated therapeutic, holistic, and medical support for clients dealing with co-existing addiction and mental illness. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

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