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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Experience the best treatment for seasonal depression through our specialized therapies at the Trauma Therapy Center. Our counselors utilize evidence-based techniques to guide you towards emotional resilience and improved life satisfaction. With personalized interventions, our team helps you find effective and lasting relief from seasonal affective disorder.

Explore personalized treatment options for seasonal depression, online or in-person, in West Palm Beach.

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What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a certain season. SAD is typically associated with decreased light around fall and winter time. SAD is a difficulty regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood. It is believed that people with SAD also have an overproduction of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone responsible for sleep. 

Symptoms of SAD are similar to those of major depressive disorder (MDD) including:

While SAD is usually associated with the winter months, it is also possible to experience symptoms in the spring and summer.

How Common Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal affective disorder affects about 5% of the U.S. population. SAD occurs four times more often in women than in men. SAD is linked to a biochemical imbalance due to shorter daylight hours. 

Who Is at Risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Those at risk for SAD include:

How Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Diagnosed?

Therapists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) to diagnose mental disorders. The DSM-5 states that to be diagnosed with SAD an individual must experience symptoms of major depressive disorder in a particular time of year. Your therapist may interview you to learn about your experience or administer a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) to determine the severity of your depression symptoms.  Therapists can also provide the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire to diagnose SAD. This tool can be self-administered and can be found online. 

How Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Treated?

SAD can be treated with various interventions including:

Other options for SAD treatment include:

Talk to your therapist to determine which combination of treatments is the best for you.

Can I Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

While it may not be possible to avoid SAD completely, some things you can do to decrease the risk for symptoms include:

Self-care is the most effective way to prevent symptoms of SAD. Your therapist can help guide you in identifying ways to improve your mental health. 

Embrace Healing The Power of Trust in Therapeutic Relationships

“In my experience, the most effective aspect of therapy is the therapeutic relationship. Establishing trust between a client and clinician is the first step to healing.”

When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD it is important to see a health care provider, such as a therapist. 

If you experience any of the following, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our therapists:

You don’t have to wait until symptoms become debilitating to seek help. You can always call a therapist even if you are just experiencing a stressful situation. Asking for help can be scary, but it takes strength and bravery to reach out.

Does Light Therapy Work for Depression? 

Bright light therapy (BLT) has been proven to be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Over 19 studies have shown that BLT was superior to placebo treatment. BLT is a type of therapy in which a lightbox is used that emits light similar in wavelength to natural light. During this treatment, clients sit about 2 feet from the light box for 30 to 60 minutes. 

The light causes the body to create neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin, affecting mood and sleep. Recently, BLT has been studied for non-seasonal depression. Research showed BLT had statistically significant mild to moderate treatment effects in reducing depressive symptoms. However, it is important to note that there are currently not many studies available on BLT for non-seasonal depression.

How Does Online Therapy Work for Seasonal Depressive Disorder?

Online therapy for SAD works similarly to in-person therapy. You can expect to meet with your therapist at a regular time at an interval you decide with your provider. You can meet over a video session or phone call.  Meeting online with your therapist may provide more convenience for you regarding scheduling and eliminating travel time.  

What Is Involved in Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy?

Knowing what to expect in therapy can help you feel more comfortable and at ease.

Here are some things you can look forward to in SAD therapy:

What Are My Next Steps in Getting Help Through Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy?

If you are interested in learning more about SAD therapy, contact us at the Trauma Therapy Center to schedule an assessment. 

Don’t let seasonal depression control your life any longer. At the Trauma Therapy Center, we offer the best treatment for seasonal depression in West Palm Beach, empowering you to break free from its grasp. Take the first step towards a brighter future by scheduling a free consultation with us today and embarking on a journey of healing and transformation.

Page Modified on Mar 3, 2024 by Liz Chelak (Trauma Therapist)

The information on this website is to provide a general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult a best in class trauma counselor in WPB regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local trauma therapist, to schedule a assessment.