Here we are, creeping steadily closer to the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice on December 21st, the official start of winter. If you’ve managed to reset your daily routine (and that of your kids and pets) after the recent time change, you’re doing pretty well. But what if you aren’t? Well, there’s a logical reason–and it’s not just the start of the Christmas commercials on TV and the Christmas decor popping up in local stores.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is an illness affecting many Americans. Approximately half the time, depression is associated with SAD. According to Psychology Today, “”Seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect 10 million Americans. Another 10 percent to 20 percent may have mild SAD…many people with SAD report at least one close relative with a psychiatric disorder, most frequently a severe depressive disorder (55 percent) or alcohol abuse (34 percent).??/span>21st, the official start of winter.
What are the symptoms of SAD? According to a recent November 2019 article on SAD and light therapy in Harvard Men’s Health Watch, the following symptoms are common in major depressive episodes, which a patient must exhibit for at least two years during the fall and winter months in order to be formally diagnosed with SAD:
- feeling hopeless or worthless
- losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- having problems with sleep
- experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- feeling sluggish or agitated
While we’re normally sharing about TMS Therapy and the exciting results our patients have achieved (upwards of an 80% reduction in symptoms), TMS isn’t for everyone. TMS therapy is only indicated for treatment-resistant depression, meaning insurance only pays for MDD treatment when there have been four failures of medication.
For many others suffering lower levels of depression, there are other solutions. Here are seven tips from Shelby Deering?? ??omfort kit??referenced in her article “”Fight Off Seasonal Depression with These 7 Affordable Essentials.”” We hope these suggestions help you cope with the winter months ahead and stay ahead of the SAD curve:
1. Daily nature sessions, ranging from walks to forest bathing
2. Warm and cozy cold-weather accessories
3. Epsom salt baths
4. Daily light box therapy
5. Caring for houseplants
6. A somewhat full social calendar…just don’t overdo it
7. Meditation (yeah, there?? an app for that, too)
These are great tips and tools, but what if you or someone you care about is on the severe end of the depressive continuum? We have offices in Colorado, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. If you??e located in these states and would like to speak with someone to learn if TMS therapy is right for you, click the button below to learn more.