Seasonal Affective Disorder: More than just 'post-holiday blues'

Published 12/27/2011

Experts at Fellowship Health Resources address the significant symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Lincoln, RI - December 27, 2011 – Clinicians at Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR), a nonprofit mental health and substance abuse treatment agency with outpatient services in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, offer resources to individuals who may be suffering from clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and the often undiagnosed, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

“During the months of December, January, and February, people with winter-onset Seasonal Affective Disorder show a lot of the same symptoms as depression,” says FHR Director of Clinical Services Pam Daisey. “Not limited to the winter months, there is also a type of spring and summer SAD, paired with anxiety, irritability, and increased agitation. However, right now, winter-onset symptoms may include fatigue, social withdrawal, change in sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, or changes in appetite and weight gain.”

Daisey also expressed how some people may dismiss these symptoms as part of the ‘post-holiday blues.’ “Moods and behavior do change with the seasons; however, persistent symptoms occurring only during the winter months, with feelings of hopelessness, could mean that it is something more,” she says.

Considering that SAD is a subtype of clinical depression or bipolar disorder, Daisey stated that those who are already being treated for one of these disorders may experience worsened symptoms during the fall and winter months.

Viable treatment options are available at the outpatient clinics of FHR. “Since symptoms often coincide with Daylight Saving Time, Light or Phototherapy is often used to treat SAD. Mimicking outdoor light in your office or home can cause changes in the brain and decrease symptoms of SAD,” Daisey says.

“Antidepressants and Psychotherapy are other treatment options; however, Individual treatment will be determined by your doctor,” Daisey says. “If you’re experiencing negative thoughts and changes in your mood around this time of year, seeking help at a local clinic or healthcare provider is the best thing that you can do for your overall health.”

For more information about outpatient services available at FHR, contact the Regional Director in your local area.