T'is the Season for SAD
T'is the Season for SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder
Fall is in the air. As the days start getting shorter, temperatures go down and we spend more time indoors. While many look forward to this time of year, for some it brings about symptoms of depression. SAD depression usually occurs during the winter months, brought on by a lack of sunlight. Signs and symptoms of SAD are similar to those of other depression types. The following are examples that are typical of SAD symptoms, though there can be others:
• Difficulty concentrating
• Feeling sluggish
• Feeling restless and agitated
• Low energy
• Overeating and weight gain
If this is you, please reach out for help. There are many treatment options to help with SAD. The first step is to talk with your regular primary care provider. Your doctor can help you make sure there are no other issues to be identified and treated, as these symptoms may be related or worsened by other medical issues. Typically, the doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about mental health issues, checking for symptoms of depression and asking about the behavior patterns, feelings and thoughts. They may have the patient fill out a diagnostic tool, such as the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire or the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) for a quick depression assessment. If SAD is identified, the doctor will then talk with you about the best treatment options for you. They may test your Vitamin D level and prescribe supplemental Vitamin D, if your level is low. For some people, the doctor may recommend an antidepressant treatment. They may also recommend counseling to help treat the depression.
You can also contact a counselor first, if you suspect you have SAD. In talking with the counselor at the first session, they can help you identify if it might be SAD. Typically, you would take a depression assessment test, such as the PHQ-9 mentioned earlier during the first meeting with the counselor. And generally, the counselor would either ask you if you have already checked in with your primary care provider about your symptoms, or they would recommend for you to check in with them. Again, this is important, to rule out that there are no other issues contributing to your symptoms and to also check your Vitamin D level. In counseling, you and your counselor would first work on a treatment plan together, addressing the things that would best match your individual needs and strengths.
You're not alone. I can help. ~ Let's Talk! ~ Petra
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
1-800-273-8255 Or go to your nearest emergency room.
Regence Blue Shield of Idaho Provider Newsletter October 2022
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I am a Nationally Certified- and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Idaho. With over eight years of experience, I specialize in counseling and consulting with adults of all ages, facing anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, grief & loss, life stage issues, stress and more.