Counselling And Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Counselling is another type of talking therapy that involves talking to a trained counsellor about your worries and problems.
During psychodynamic psychotherapy you discuss how you feel about yourself and others and talk about experiences in your past. The aim of the sessions is to find out whether anything in your past is affecting how you feel today.
It’s not clear exactly how effective these 2 therapies are in treating depression.
Side Effects Of Light Therapy
It’s rare for people using light therapy to have side effects. However, some people may experience:
- agitation or irritability
- sleeping problems
- blurred vision
These side effects are usually mild and short-lived, but you should visit a GP if you experience any particularly troublesome side effects while using light therapy.
When To See A Doctor
Its normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you cant get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.
You May Like: Can You Tell If Someone Has Depression
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression thats triggered by a change in seasons, usually when fall starts. This seasonal depression gets worse in the late fall or early winter before ending in the sunnier days of spring.
You can also get a mild version of SAD known as the winter blues. Its normal to feel a little down during colder months. You may be stuck inside, and it gets dark early.
But full SAD goes beyond this. Its a form of depression. Unlike the winter blues, SAD affects your daily life, including how you feel and think. Fortunately, treatment can help you get through this challenging time.
Seasonal affective disorder is also called seasonal depression.
Healthy Ways To Cope With Seasonal Depression
So how DO you handle Seasonal Affective Disorder or seasonal depression symptoms? First, we do recommend getting a professional diagnosis and treatment plan . Secondly, there are plenty of healthy ways to treat and manage symptoms on your own.
One of the most well-known ways to treat SAD is with light therapy, but not the kind of light that a tanning booth provides. This is provided with a special light box with specific light bulbs that mimic sunlight for the eyes. You sit in front of this lightbox for up to half an hour as close to first thing in the morning as youâre able to manage. Thereâs a UV filter to reduce the risk of skin cancer. You donât look at the light– itâs pretty bright, and looking directly at lights isnât smart anyway– you read, journal, meditate, or do something else in front of it.In fact, the real benefits happen when the light is in our periphery vision anyway. Think about placing your light box in your office or bedroom– somewhere safe where you can easily and comfortably sit near it without it being in your direct line of sight.
Recommended Reading: Is There A Blood Test For Depression
Doctor: Tanning Not A Cure For Seasonal Depression
NEW YORK People who suffer from winter depression known as “seasonal affective disorder” or SAD or the less severe but more common “winter blues” shouldn’t seek relief in a tanning bed or booth, a leading expert on light therapy warns.
SAD is often treated with daily sessions of exposure to bright light. While some isolated reports have linked tanning to improvements in mood, Dr. Michael Terman told Reuters Health, the fact is that real light therapy works through the eyes, not the skin, and uses a completely different type of light.
Even if artificial tanning did turn out to improve mood, the increased risk of skin cancer would far outweigh its benefits, added Terman, who is the director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, the newest sunlamps produce up to as a dozen times as much ultraviolet light as real sunshine, while tanning bed users are at greater risk of developing skin cancers. UV light can also harm the eyes, Terman noted, and studies have shown the goggles people use in tanning beds and booths can allow significant amounts of the damaging rays to reach the eyes.
The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate light boxes, so there’s no guarantee that devices on the market will help, he said, and some evidence that they could be harmful, for example by failing to adequately filter out ultraviolet radiation.
Ready Your Mind In The Fall
As you prepare our homes for the fall-to-winter transition, you may want to consider preparing your mind, too.
Regularly allotting time for mood-boosting activities can help people feel physically and psychologically healthier, says psychologist Kim Burgess, PhD, founder of the Pediatric Psychology Center in Rockville, Maryland, and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.
Its better to set yourself up for the winter season by starting in the fall season doing enjoyable activities, initiating friend group chats and outings, choosing fun hobbies, and engaging in clubs or community service, says Dr. Burgess.
Regularly taking part in these activities ahead of time is much easier than trying to start from scratch once the winter blues have already set in, she adds.
Recommended Reading: What Do You Say To Depressed Person
How Is Seasonal Affective Disorder Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of seasonal affective disorder , dont try to diagnose yourself. See your healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation. You may have another reason for your depression. Many times, seasonal affective disorder is part of a more complex mental health issue.
Your provider may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. These mental health professionals will ask you about your symptoms. Theyll consider your pattern of symptoms and decide if you have seasonal depression or another mood disorder. You may need to fill out a questionnaire to determine if you have SAD.
When Should I Go To The Emergency Room
If you or a loved one has suicidal thoughts, get help. Call your provider, go to an emergency room, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Its available 24/7.
You May Like: Where Do I Go If I Think I Have Depression
Is Tanning The Seasonal Depression Treatmentyouve Been Waiting For
Image courtesy of HealthDay.
Chances are youâve heard of Seasonal Depression, a type of depression that is often over-simplified as âWinter Blues.âItâs actual name is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and itâs acronym– SAD– is a somewhat accurate self-contained definition, although itâs often more complex than it appears. SAD can have just as many misunderstood and underrepresented symptoms as Clinical Depression, including, but not limited to: apathy, lost of interest in things you usually enjoy, low or no energy, a noticeable or severe change in appetite levels, difficulty concentrating, feeling hopeless or like a burden for any or no reason. And unfortunately, suicidal ideation can also be a part of SAD.
What you may not realize about SAD is that there are two types: Fall/Winter onset, and Spring/Summer onset. Whatâs also interesting is that the symptoms that appear specific to each seem to reflect the themes of each season:
SAD appears to be triggered by changes in light, serotonin, or melatonin.Interestingly enough, the further away from the equator you live, the more likely you are to suffer from SAD.
So what works for treating SAD? There are some myths and real treatments, so letâs go through them in this article:
- Is tanning an effective treatment?
- Healthy ways to cope
- When to get professional help
Treatment For Seasonal Affective Disorder: Light Therapy
The mainstay of winter SAD treatment is light therapy, otherwise known as phototherapy. Light therapy aims to replace the missing daylight of winter by exposing you to bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. Daily exposure can suppress the brains secretion of melatonin to help you feel more awake and alert, less drowsy and melancholy.
Light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of SAD cases. However, the timing and length of exposure needed can vary according to your symptoms and circadian rhythm, so youll need guidance from your doctor or mental health professional to find the right dosage. Your doctor or therapist can also help you choose a light therapy product thats both effective and safe.
Light therapy has to be continued daily throughout the winter months to be effective. Starting light therapy before the onset of symptoms in the fall may even help prevent seasonal affective disorder.
You May Like: A Fear Becomes A Phobia When
Also Check: How To Stop A Depression Spiral
Unraveling The Suns Role In Depression
More Evidence That Sunlight Affects Mood-Lifting Chemical in the Brain
Dec. 5, 2002 A sunny day may do more than just boost your mood it may increase levels of a natural antidepressant in the brain. A new study shows that the brain produces more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin on sunny days than on darker days.
Researchers say the findings provide more evidence that lack of sunlight and reduced serotonin levels are important in the development of seasonal affective disorder .
People with SAD develop symptoms of depression in the winter months when there is less daylight. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, low energy or fatigue, loss of interest in daily activities, moodiness, and sleeping excessive amounts.
Serotonin levels have been found to be normal in previous studies of people with SAD. But researchers say those studies looked at serotonin levels in the fluid that circulates around the brain and spine, which may have interfered with their results.
In the current study, researchers measured serotonin levels in the blood vessels leading directly from the brain a more accurate measure of serotonin levels, they say. The study, by Gavin Lambert of the Baker Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues, appears in the Dec. 7 issue of The Lancet.
No other atmospheric conditions were related to serotonin levels.
Choosing The Right Light
There are many light boxes available in stores and online, but Dr. Terman says that few have been clinically tested, and its best to follow certain guidelines when deciding which product is best for you.
The light box should have been tested successfully in peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled clinical trials, and should be able to provide 10,000 lux illumination, he says. It should also have a smooth diffusing screen that filters out the small amount of UVR emitted by the bulbs used. Many today use LED rather than fluorescent light, but these tend to be too small to reach effective lux levels at the eyes, and convincing clinical trials are still lacking.
Dr. Terman also recommends choosing a box that projects light downward toward the eyes to minimize glare. Finally, the lamp should ideally give off soft white light, as full spectrum and blue light can cause glare and may harm the retina over the long term.
For some, it can be difficult to resist the temptation of a warm tanning bed during the doldrums of winter. Considering the sizable risks associated with UV tanning and its ineffectiveness for treating SAD, though, its better to reject the tanning option. Visible light therapy, combined with a healthy lifestyle of exercise and a nutritious diet, is the way to combat seasonal depression.
The Seasonal Affective Disorder information on this page has been adapted from an article written for The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal by Michael Terman, PhD.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Your Life Back On Track After Depression
What Is Seasonal Depression
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression associated with seasonality.
It affects 0.5%3% of the general population and is more common in people diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder ¹.
Typically, symptoms of depression will persist during winter, and sometimes in fall, when the daylight hours start to shorten and the amount of sunlight exposure decreases significantly. Although it is much more common for SAD to present in the winter months, for some people it occurs in the summer.
More than just the winter blues, SAD has a significant impact on your life. Like all depressive disorders, it impacts your mood and ability or desire to function, leading to physical, psychological, and social withdrawal from your environment. Symptoms vary in frequency and severity from person to person.
Rates are significantly higher amongst females during adolescence and middle age. Other risk factors include:
Increased cravings for high-calorie foods
To obtain a SAD diagnosis, symptoms must persist for two or more years. They must occur and remit during the same time of year, and the depressive episodes must be isolated to the season.
Over a lifetime, people with SAD have more particular seasons with depression than without. Please seek your health professional if you are concerned.
Why Are Tanning Beds Harmful
Tanning beds are used for cosmetic purposes. They make your skin look more glossy and brown. The UV light used by these machines increases the amount of melanin in your skin, a chemical produced to protect the skin from damage and which gives the skin color.
This is not to be confused with melatonin, the sleep messenger of the brain.
Tanning beds are not a form of light therapy
Tanning beds differ significantly from lightboxes in how the body responds to them. Light therapy uses visible light which is safer and can access the brain. Tanning beds use ultraviolet light to act on the skin and have no effect on your brain.
Damaging UV light
No research supports using tanning beds to treat SAD. The ultraviolet light from tanning beds can seriously damage your skin, leading to an increased risk of cancer of the skin and eyes.
Risk of tanning addiction
Tanning has not been found effective in treating SAD. It has also been associated with problematic tanning behaviors and ultimately tanning addiction.
Tanning To Cure Depression: Is It Really Worth It
Ah, October. What a beautiful month to enjoy the changing of the leaves and your own pigmentation! Pigmentation? Yes, pigmentation! As you all know, as August comes to a close, so do our days at the beach basking in the sun. As autumn rolls around, our crisp, bronze outer layer converts to a ghostly white.
Depression runs rampid during the winter months. According to CNN, about 15% of the U.S. population experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months. This disease can be caused by a lack of natural sunlight, which is said to increase Vitamin D which promotes serotonin levels. What is serotonin, you ask? As defined by Medical News Today, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for maintaining mood balance. It is known to calm anxieties and increase happiness within the human mind.
HealthGuidance released information regarding individuals who used tanning beds and also suffered from SAD. This prescription is known as light therapy. UV rays exposure favors vitamin D synthesis in the skin. That is why persons who go to tanning salons have noticed mood improvement and keep the habit in order to maintain the state of well-being, stated the article.
It was no surprise, however, that HG was not able to supply statistical evidence. The main reasoning behind this is because people believe the bad parts of UV ray exposure outweigh the good benefits.
How Can I Help Someone With Sad
If you know someone is suffering from SAD, you can help by gently encouraging them to seek medical advice for their treatment. If theyre already being treated, help them adhere to their prescriptions or appointments. Be patient, supportive, and encouraging, and focus on listening rather than dispelling advice. If youre worried theyre at risk for suicide, you can dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK . You can also text their Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741.
Recommended Reading: Is Schizophrenia A Psychotic Disorder
What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have SAD, ask your provider:
- What treatment is best for me?
- How can I prevent depressive episodes?
- Will light therapy work?
- Should I take an antidepressant?
- When should I start treatment?
- How long should my treatment continue?
- What can I eat to improve my symptoms?
- What else can I do to feel better?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that happens every year during a specific season, usually winter. Symptoms can include a lack of energy and feelings of hopelessness. Fortunately, theres treatment for seasonal depression. Talk to your healthcare provider. Theyre there to help.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/10/2022.
Spotlight On Seasonal Depression: Why Indoor Tanning Isnt An Effective Treatment
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects millions of Americans, but hopping into a tanning bed wont help. Heres why visible light therapy is a safer, more effective way to ease symptoms.
The winter season can bring joy to many people each year its time for holiday decorations, winter sports and cozy nights with hot cocoa by the fireplace. Unfortunately, many other people often find winter dark, cold and depressing, and consider the months between November and April a time to be endured rather than enjoyed. If the winter is very much not a wonderland for you, its possible youre one of the up to 10 million people in the U.S. who is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder .
Read Also: Do I Have Anger Issues Or Depression