Seasonal Affective Disorder? Substance Abuse Disorder!

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For those that suffer from seasonal affective disorder (AKA: SAD) experience a depressive episode usually brought on by living in a certain climate. Those living in warmer areas of the world should count their blessings that they don’t have to deal with the seasons. While we’ve all heard people say they “love the four seasons”, late autumn and winter can lead to SAD, which can have a detrimental effect on many peoples’ mental health. Depression, sleeping too much, anxiety, loss of energy and weight gain are only some of the negative effects of SAD. However, the worst symptom is one that arises due to poor or lack of treatment of SAD, increased alcohol and drug use.

One of the main causes of SAD is a lack of sunlight, usually due to shorter days in winter. One of the main treatments for SAD is something called ‘light therapy’. But many people are unaware that there are legitimate treatment options for those suffering, and instead of receiving professional medical help, many people resort to alcohol an drug use which can quickly turn into the beginnings of a substance abuse problem. At first the alcohol will ease and soothe the painful psychological effects of SAD, but it is always a short lived period of relief. In fact, as the sufferer continues to treat themselves with alcohol or drugs, the brain soon develops a powerful tolerance that will lead to those suffering from SAD to ingest more and more of the substance to negate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (Particularly the depressive episodes).

Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options for SAD. Treatment options that work, and are recommended by mental health professionals. The most common therapy for those suffering is a light box that, with high intensity light, offers the user an artificial form of sunlight that can be used for 15 to 30 minutes per day. After only a few days of treatment, many SAD sufferers experience a substantial decrease in negative symptoms and many peoples’ symptoms simply go away for good. Cognitive behavioral therapy as well as melatonin treatments are also effective at treating SAD.

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Most people will respond well to light therapy and since this therapy is so easily implemented into daily life and because the costs of treatment are so low (a light therapy box may retail for $100 – $200) there is really no reason to suffer with SAD and an increased risk of alcoholism and substance abuse

Seasonal Affective Disorder? Substance Abuse Disorder!