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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Westside Behavioral Care / Blog - Depression  / Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition that affects millions of people. Unsurprisingly, it is more common during the winter months when the days are shorter, hence its name. The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder mimic those of depression and include lack of appetite, hypersomnia (sleeping too much), depressed mood, lethargy, anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure), and hopelessness, among other related signs.

The symptoms tend to wane once spring sets in.

People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD also tend to have a hard time going about their daily activities and working on their relationships during the period in which they suffer from SAD.

Here are some therapies and strategies for coping with SAD:


As the name suggests, phototherapy is simply a light therapy in which a patient suffering from SAD is exposed to a source that mimics natural light. Usually, a light box generating 10,000 lux of white or blue light is used for a prescribed amount of time, typically 30 minutes. A regular desk lamp or a yellow light should not be used for this purpose.

Cognitive Therapy

Research indicates that a relatively short period of cognitive behavior therapy often is effective for Seasonal Affective Disorder and has the additional benefit of having an active, caring therapist onboard who can assess and treat this and additional concerns. There are cognitive therapy therapists in Denver and nearby areas.


A lack of Vitamin D that arises as a result of the lack of exposure to sunlight may play a role in SAD. If needed, use Vitamin D supplements, especially D3. It isn’t always easy to get vitamin D within acceptable ranges, and blood testing often is a good idea to ensure that the dosage is adequate.

Take walks 

Try to get as much sun exposure as possible during the winter.Take a good, relaxing stroll and soak up as much sun as you can.