Do you feel sad, sluggish, and irritable during the winter months? Do you dread the darker days of December and January? You may be one of many Americans who struggle with seasonal depression. If you suspect this problem, consult Dr. Arvinder Walia at Northwest Psychiatry in Austin, TX. He and his trained staff can help you manage your symptoms so you feel better and get your life back.
Just what is seasonal depression?
Also called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, seasonal depression is a mood disorder with onset during the winter months. While its exact mechanism is unclear, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic believe lower levels of sunlight, confinement indoors during cold weather, and simply living in the North may change dramatically how some people feel emotionally and mentally. Also, having a co-morbidity, such as bipolar depression, contribute to these severe winter "blues."
Additionally, SAD seems to impact more young people and women than the middle-aged, elderly or men. In all, a full five percent of adults in the United States experience true seasonal depression, elaborates the Cleveland Clinic.
Getting treatment for SAD
However bleak this sounds, you can receive the help you need for seasonal depression. At Northwest Psychiatry in Austin, Dr. Walia and his team really listen to people who struggle with SAD. Largely the diagnosis is made from symptomology. From there, the doctor outlines a care plan unique to each patient.
Treatment may include:
- Antidepressant medication to increase levels of serotonin
- In-office cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT
- Vitamin D therapy
- Phototherapy (using a special bright light indoors to stimulate endorphin production in the brain and to reset the sleep cycle)
- Routine light aerobic exercise
- Spending time outdoors
- Eating a healthy diet, low in carbohydrates and caffeine
- Keeping contact with friends and family
- Avoiding alcohol
Many of these treatments are good prevention strategies. Some people take Vitamin D supplements all through the year, and as the fall and winter approach, begin their light therapy routines.
Happier and healthier
You can achieve both even if you have seasonal depression. To reach out to Dr. Arvinder Walia for care, please contact our Austin, TX, office for a confidential consultation. Phone Northwest Psychiatry at (512) 342-7979.