Bright Ideas for Treating the Winter Blues,
Fellow Mental Health Profession, Melinda Beck (Other Sourcs: Terman, Glothh & Rohan)
It’s that time of year when darkness descends like a heavy blanket beginning in mid-afternoon in much of the country. For some people, it also brings a desire to stay in bed and wait for spring; Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD this time of year.
There is a wide range of treatments that can alleviate SAD symptoms. Most experts say that if you have mild winter blues, it’s fine to try any of these remedies on your own.
Light Therapy: The most extensively studied treatment is sitting before an intense light for 15 to 20 minutes daily
Dawn Simulation: A newer form of light therapy gradually turns the light on in your bedroom, creating a slow transition from darkness to dawn in the room while it’s still dark outside.
Negative Air Ions: The air near a pounding surf or after a lightning storm has oxygen molecules that are naturally charged with extra electrons, called negative air ions. These have long been believed to have mood-lifting properties. One theory is that inhaling so-called super oxygenated air raises the oxygen level of the bloodstream as it pumps to needy tissues in the body.
Antidepressants: Some find relief from antidepressants.
Vitamin D: This is created by the sun’s rays on the skin, and therefore declines during the winter. Deficiencies have been linked to a wide variety of illnesses, including depression. So it stands to reason that vitamin D might play a role in SAD
Sun tanning: Both sunlight and tanning beds do provide UVB rays, which produce vitamin D in the body. UVB rays may stimulate endorphins, a natural hormone that acts like a pain-reducing, pleasure-enhancing opiate in the brain.
Exercise outdoors: Even if the winter light is weak, that take a morning or noontime walk.
Diet: Fight the urge to splurge on carbohydrates
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Even though SAD clearly seems related to biological functions, researchers are finding that changing one’s behavior can help alleviate symptoms. Kelly Rohan, associate professor of psychology at the University of Vermont. Dr. Rohan and her colleagues developed a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program, in which patients identified, and then challenged, negative thoughts and behaviors (like declining social invitations and spending time in bed) that were contributing to their depression. But if you have severe depression, whether it’s related to seasonal patterns or not, consult a mental-health expert.
This is where Counseling on Demand comes in. We know Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and have employed it many times- tailored to your specific needs. We are here for you. You need not go through this alone. With our support, you may get through these times in surprisingly short order.
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