Newport Beach Psychiatrist on Seasonal Depression, Possible Treatments
Gray skies and a downpour is definitely a gloomy sight. Perhaps, too gloomy for others.
Anyone who feels unusually sad every time it rains might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). As the name implies, SAD means a person’s mood drops to an all-time low during the autumn and winter seasons. In spring and summer, symptoms of depression might still manifest, albeit less often.
SAD may not be apparent at the onset of the behavior. Therapists say a person feeling moody for the past two winters may be every indication. However, it’s important to note that ordinary “winter blues” isn’t necessarily SAD, according to the American Psychiatric Association. SAD normally occurs as a myriad of symptoms, not just one or two, which may include the following:
- Sadness or depression
- Changes in appetite, inclined at gaining weight
- Restlessness, particularly frantic pacing
- Fatigue despite getting enough sleep
- Contemplation of or attempts at suicide
If a lot of these symptoms are observed in your loved one, intervention via a Newport Beach psychiatrist must be made immediately. In any mental condition, a decisive action can save a life from making a fatally wrong decision. If acted upon early, SAD can be treated by one or a combination of the following treatments:
Also known as phototherapy, light therapy involves exposing the patient to light using a light box for 30 minutes or more. SAD can restrict a person to his room, meaning he or she may not be getting as much outdoor light as needed. Don’t attempt this at home because light therapy may not be the best treatment for SAD patients who are prone to or have macular degeneration.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Studies show that CBT may be the more effective treatment for SAD than light therapy. Aside from the absence of long time commitments, CBT allows the experienced Newport Beach psychiatrist more control over the treatment process with the right choice of words. He or she can have the patient start small with short bursts of activities and work from there.
The effects of CBT also last longer than light therapy. Researchers at the University of Vermont in 2008 found out that patients who underwent CBT fared better one year later compared with those exposed to light. Even in a controlled experiment, CBT still came out on top. Regardless, further studies continue.
No matter the approach to SAD, one thing is for certain. SAD must not be allowed to linger on a person for too long. Seek expert help from services like Superior Psychiatric Services for timely, professional intervention.
(Source: “Feeling ‘SAD’ due to rainy days could be depression,” KTRE, March 20, 2015)