Seasonal Affective Disorder
Written by Behavioral Health Clinician Kallie Howell
What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. It typically occurs in the fall and will continue into the winter months. Signs and symptoms may include feeling depressed often, experiencing low energy levels, issues with sleep, loss in interests, changes in weight or appetite, feelings of agitation, difficulty concentrating, thoughts of suicide, feelings of hopelessness, worthless, or guilt.
What should I do if I think I am experiencing SAD?
Schedule an appointment with a medical provider where they may do an evaluation which may include a physical examination, lab tests, or recommend that you meet with a behavioral health clinician for further evaluations. If SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is diagnosed, then there are various treatment avenues to explore. Light therapy, medications, alternative medications, psychotherapy, mind-body connections and lifestyle changes. Call the NHBP Health and Human Services to schedule an appointment at 269.729.4422.
An activity to aid in symptoms of SAD
Here is a behavioral activation activity to utilize if you are experiencing these symptoms, or to maintain emotional stability during these cold and blue days. Think of it as putting your superhero CAPES on!
A – Accomplishment
P– Physical Activity
The trick is to schedule an activity in each category the night before to alleviate anxiety, and to lessen depression with long-term use. Also, remember to make sure your actions are SMART. Meaning that they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reliable and Time specific.
An example of using CAPES:
Closeness – Call Monica tomorrow after work at 5:30 p.m. to check in, discuss future girl’s night in two weeks and finalize plans.
Accomplishment – Write check for consumer’s bill and place into mailbox.
Physical Activity – 10 jumping jacks in the morning before breakfast.
Enjoyment – Watch an episode of the Umbrella Kids on Netflix after dinner.
Sleep – Get in bed around 10 p.m., and turn the lights and television off around 10:30 p.m.