What to expect after a seasonal affective disorder diagnosis

The lull after the holidays, combined with the long days of winter may have you feeling especially down. If you’ve noticed you’ve become irritable, more tired than normal and avoiding social situations, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). There are several ways to treat this form of depression, but you first need to visit with your doctor about your symptoms.

The discussion with your doctor may lead them to do a thorough evaluation to help diagnose SAD. This can involve a physical exam to make sure your symptoms aren’t being caused by an underlying problem. They may also want to do a psychological evaluation to learn more about your symptoms, thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns.

You and your doctor will develop a treatment plan that’s right for you, which may include medications, psychotherapy and light therapy. Light therapy is a form of treatment in which you are exposed to light from a specially designed light box. The light mimics natural outdoor light and may help to change brain chemicals that are linked to your mood.

In addition to the treatment prescribed by your doctor, you can make changes to your lifestyle and home environment that can further your treatment of SAD. These include:

  • Introduce more light into your home by opening blinds daily and trimming tree branches that could be blocking sunlight from entering your home.
  • Increase your time outside, even if it’s cloudy out. Spend some time at a local park, even if that means just sitting on a bench to soak up the sun.
  • Set a regular exercise routine. Being physically active can help you relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can make your SAD symptoms worse.

BCBSKS members are encouraged to check their contracts for specific details about benefit coverage before scheduling medical services. Log into BlueAccess® for more information.

Source: MayoClinic

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