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Feeling S.A.D. – Tips from an Expert

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Sure, everyone feels down from time to time, but there might be something more to why you aren’t feeling up-to-par during these dreary, winter months!

“Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year,” explained Abby Buche, LMSW. “Symptoms can include fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal.”

According to experts, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., is very common because it occurs in a cycle. It is so common, in fact, that there are more than three million cases per year!

But, why do we see it more often in the winter months?

“It’s especially common when there is less sunlight during a certain time of year,” said Abby.

The reduction in sunlight disrupts our body’s internal clocks, which can lead to feeling “blah” or uninterested. When there is less sun, serotonin levels drop. This can not only change your mood, but cause you to get less sleep, make changes in your appetite, and decrease your energy level. All of these pieces can fit into the larger puzzle of S.A.D.

So, what can you do to overcome symptoms? A lot!

While it may be difficult because of S.A.D. symptoms, finding different avenues for serotonin exposure can be extremely helpful.

Serotonin Exposure:

  • Setting a healthy sleep schedule and sticking to it
  • Regulate your diet by consciously sticking to healthier food groups
  • Promote positive behaviors daily – positive affirmations, thankful journals, or even attempting to have one positive, personal interaction each day

When these tips aren’t enough, Abby Buche, LMSW says, “Meeting with a doctor before, or when, you notice the onset of symptoms is the best practice. Different types of treatment might include light therapy, talk therapy, and medications. Psychotherapy is also an option as well.”

Stormont Vail Health has a Behavioral Health team ready to help you with Seasonal Affective Disorder or anything else you may be facing.

“At Stormont Vail Behavioral Health we can help find outpatient resources and provide acute stabilization for inpatient patients. Outpatient resources include different types of therapy, medication management, and substance abuse. We also work with domestic violence victims, have homelessness resources, and do a lot of work with partners including the Topeka Rescue Mission.”

Visit us online or call (785) 270-4600 today if you’re interested in setting up an appointment with the behavioral health team. There’s no need to be S.A.D. when quality care is here waiting for you!

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