Three Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder without using Medication
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects 4 – 6% of the U.S. population. Women are impacted 4x more than men are by SAD for reasons that are still not completely understood. Symptoms can include:
• Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
• No interest in activities that you use to enjoy
• Problems with sleep, generally too much sleep
• Having difficulty concentrating
• Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
For some individuals as the disorder progresses, they can even begin to have thoughts of suicide. As its’ name indicates, the onset is specific to the seasons. Although most individuals experiencing SAD feel the onset in the Fall, there is a small percentage of individuals that find the disorder comes at the opposite time of the year. Whatever month it begins in, it is seasonal, so relief does eventually come. Anti-depressants have been known to help, however they come with side effects. If you are looking for treatment that doesn’t involve medication but has been proven to be as effective you may want to consider one of these options:
Light therapy lamps are available for as little as $40. Many individuals report relief in 2 – 4 days. Light therapy lamps come in everything from travel size to an actual Light Therapy Cafe if you are in the city of Portland. If you want the full therapeutic benefit from light therapy you will want to focus on three criteria:
Time – Begin every day using your lamp.
Intensity – The light must be at least 10,000 lux exposure. You can find this information on the box.
Duration – Use your lamp for at least 30 minutes a day, every day.
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)
This is a form of neurostimulation. Scientists are still trying to determine why this is effective in treating anxiety, depression and insomnia and they still aren’t quite sure.
What they do know is that it works. The device I demonstrate on the newswoman is
from CESultra. You place a drop of water on the pads and then attach them to your
earlobes. The device has a timer that will turn it off automatically in 30 minutes.
However, it can safely be worn longer. Studies have shown that by wearing a CES
device for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, decreases depression with no side effects.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
IFS is a form of psychotherapy. It is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that is
considered an evidenced based practice. This type of therapy recognizes that are psyches
have different parts. I have a part that really wants to exercise and lose weight and
another part that wants to eat whatever I want to eat in the moment. If you think for a
moment about your different parts, you might come up with names such as, the critic, the
procrastinator, the organizer, the isolator, the people-pleaser and so on.
When you go to an IFS practitioner they will help you explore your parts and get to know
them from a curious and compassionate place. It has been my experience when using
IFS, that my clients can find a way to revisit their trauma, calm themselves and improve
their general well-being quicker than other modalities of therapy.