Seasonal Affective Disorder and Addiction

Now that we are deep into the winter season, you may have noticed you’re experiencing some symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that affects your body’s biochemical activity due to changes in the circadian rhythm and decreased sunlight. It is a phenomenon that affects mostly females who have a family history of depressive mental disorders and live far from the equator. SAD patients have anxiety symptoms that can affect their quality of life. But how can you exactly tell that you are suffering from SAD? And are there ways to treat it?

In this article, we’ll discuss the tell-tale signs of SAD and ways that you can address it. Knowing this information can help you keep your wellbeing in check and sustain your positive mental health. That way, you can thrive through even the most challenging mental health ordeals, like relapse triggers and substance abuse episodes.

Common Symptoms of SAD

One thing to note about SAD is that it has shared characteristics with depression, meaning you can expect similar signs. Consider the following:

1. Feelings of Sadness

Feeling disappointed is a normal part of life, but you have to watch out for prolonged periods of sadness, especially during the winter months. Other symptoms to be mindful of are sleep deprivation, overeating or undereating, and lethargy. It’s also possible to have suicidal ideation or emotional breakdowns.

2. Social Isolation or Extreme Codependency

Having SAD affects your social skills. You may either disassociate from other people or become increasingly dependent on social interaction. Both are two social need spectrums that require corrective interventions.

3. Lack of Interest to Pursue Daily Obligations

Because of anxiety symptoms, your SAD can prevent you from carrying out your daily obligations, including menial tasks and habits. For example, you may love reading as a hobby and commit to brushing your teeth twice a day. Having SAD will prevent you from doing these tasks, and you may have the urge to just stay in bed all day.

4. Substance Abuse

Most patients with anxiety symptoms turn to substance abuse since they want to fill a need for self-medication by using substances such as alcohol and drugs.

Effective Ways to Treat SAD

Fortunately, there are treatment opportunities to address SAD and other symptoms:

1. Professional Help and Diagnosis

Consult mental health professionals for professional advice and diagnosis to confirm SAD and rule out other depressive disorders that correlate with your anxiety symptoms. That way, you can undergo the correct therapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy and other similar mental health interventions that can help you become mentally stable and productive.

2. Medication

One of the possible reasons why you are experiencing SAD is because of serotonin deficiency. It occurs when you lack a vital brain hormone responsible for stabilizing your emotional stability and development. Psychiatrists can prescribe antidepressants and even brain activity vitamins (e.g., fish oil) to stimulate positive serotonin production.

3. Support Group Sessions

You can find an immediate support system in your friends and family. However, you may also benefit from listening and talking to individuals undergoing the same mental health issues as you. Attending a support group is also an effective means to be accountable and process your anxiety symptoms. That way, you can also build healthy friendships with others.

Start with a Mental Health Assessment

Dealing with SAD and its symptoms can be challenging. Thankfully, you now have a better understanding of what to look for and what to do if you need help. All you have to do is find professionals and other individuals who can help you get better. Get your mental health assessed today!

Visit Our Substance Abuse Clinic in Havertown, PA

The American Treatment Network can provide you immediate access to care with an integrated approach to treat your SAD, anxiety symptoms, and other mental health issues. We offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and consider treating your health as a whole to ensure overall wellness and empower you to avoid relapse triggers. Become a healthier, happier you! Contact us today.


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