Health & Medical Mental Health

Seasonal Affective Disorder Alternative Medicine


    • Holistic Online cites Dr. Shila Mathew, who describes four classic SAD symptoms. SAD sufferers want to sleep more than during spring and summer months. They feel extremely lethargic and depressed. Individuals who suffer from SAD often eat more to compensate for depressed feelings. Over-eating usually leads to weight gain during the affected months. SAD symptoms can interfere with a person's normal life activities. With its appropriate acronym, SAD can leave sufferers with feelings of sadness, anxiety or irritability. The sadness can be as deep as grief. Anxiety can be paralyzing. Irritability can lead to violence. While SAD victims might sleep longer than at other times of year, they will awaken feeling sleep-deprived.


    • Anyone from any culture and of either gender can fall prey to SAD, which may be hereditary. According to Holistic Online, an estimated 10 percent of the US population suffers from SAD. Physicians estimate that 5 percent of the populations of the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada suffer from SAD. Since not all populations are aware of SAD and its symptoms, it is impossible to estimate SAD's effect on other populations.


    • Light Therapy Lamp

      The primary treatment for SAD is bright light therapy. Other treatments include negative ion and skin illumination. SAD also may be treated as depression. Bright light therapy consists of sending light through the eyes to trigger the pineal gland. Since sunlight has all of the wavelengths, it is the most effective light source for this treatment. If sunlight is not regularly available, artificial light must emit full-spectrum or bright white light. Bright light therapy provides increasing amounts of light to counter the decreased light of fall and winter. Treatments continue through the affected period. It is unclear exactly why this therapy works.
      SAD sufferers may place ionizers near them for negative ion therapy, which can relieve irritability and increase energy.

    Side Effects

    • Side effects may affect individuals with a variety of conditions. Light therapy can cause headaches, eye irritation and nausea when treatment starts. With initial exposures, these disturbances fade in a few hours. After continued exposure, side effects generally stop. Light therapy can cause a side effect that is the opposite of SAD; treatments can cause agitation and hyperactivity.
      Anyone with eye or skin conditions causing negative responses to light should discuss options with a physician before beginning light therapy. Individuals with glaucoma or other retina disorders cannot be treated with light therapy.

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