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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and how can SAD be treated?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes according to the season. People suffering from SAD, also known as winter blues, have symptoms of depression at roughly the same time each year – typically in the lead up to and during winter. Seasonal Affective Disorders brings on the onset of low mood and energy, directly related to the shorter days and reduced sunlight exposure at certain times of the year.

What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Normally, symptoms are mild and worsen as the season progresses. When the seasons change, people usually become completely well again. According to Mayo Clinic, SAD symptoms include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

It is thought that during the colder months, as daylight hours reduce, our daily circadian rhythm begins to drift to a later sleep/wake cycle. This circadian misalignment is thought to bring about changes in mood and energy, leading to feelings of depression. Contributors may be:

  • Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, may play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

What can I do to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Light therapy remains the ‘gold standard’ treatment for SAD (also known as phototherapy). 

There are many things you can do to make a change, including spending more time outside, spending time with family and friends, and exercising regularly. Some people also use psychotherapy and medication to relieve SAD symptoms.

The most important take-away is that SAD, just like other types of depression, is treatable and we encourage anyone suffering to seek help. Visit your health professional and seek advice on what type of therapy may be suitable for you.

How does Re-Timer help?

Re-Timer Light Therapy Glasses deliver a safe, effective green/blue light in the 500nm wavelength, shown to be most effective for alleviating symptoms of winter blues.

Exposure to appropriate light wavelengths for a prescribed amount of time, at specific times of day will control your daily rhythms through hormone production. When your eyes receive light, it sends a signal to your brain to be awake and alert. Using light therapy can have a positive effect on your mood and leave you feeling more energized.

We recommend wearing Re-Timer for 30 minutes shortly after waking to provide your body with the light it needs during the long, cold winter months. Our team can support you to get the best results, and your purchase of Re-Timer comes with a 60-day money back guarantee for peace of mind.

Learn more at Re-Timer.com, or email support@re-timer.com to talk to us about how Re-Timer can help.

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

© Copyright 2020 Re-Time Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Re-Timer™ is a registered trademark of Re-Time Pty Ltd. The views and information expressed here should be considered as general only, and should not be used for medical purposes.