Prevention and Management
How ironic is it that Seasonal Affective Disorder is also known as the acronym SAD? It can affect anyone, young or old, male or female, and can substantially impact their lives, even if only for a few short months out of the year. It certainly doesn’t help that seasonal depressions sets in during the coldest, darkest, bleakest months of the year, which makes mobility harder on even the healthiest individuals. However, there are ways to prevent, or at least manage, symptoms.
- Lack of energy
- Loss of interest in activities
- Irritability and agitation
- Increased tiredness
- Trouble concentrating
- Becoming anti-social
- Increase in appetite or weight gain
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Both seniors and the loved ones who take care of them are at risk. The everyday stress of caregiving can be exacerbated by seasonal depression, sometimes simply due to the fact that less daylight means less opportunity to run errands or engage in social activities. In northern states, the weather can be an issue almost every day, limiting mobility and transportation. All of this, coupled with the guilt of the feeling that you can’t do enough for someone who needs you, can be overwhelming.
So what can you do for you or your loved one if these symptoms persist? Here are some key factors to keep in mind:
- Know the risk factors
- Increase light exposure (daylight or artificial)
- Attempt regular physical activity
- Seek help if you’re overwhelmed
Treatment options might also include antidepressants, seeing a counselor, or a combination of these approaches. It is also very important to stay connected with family and friends. Just knowing that someone cares or is going through a similar situation, helps ease the burden. Additionally, mind/body exercises, such as yoga, meditation, and guided imagery (where you create an uplifting narrative combined with a positive image) have been proven to help people navigate the SAD season.
If you would like assistance with developing a plan to cope with seasonal affective disorder, for you or your loved one, please give us a call.