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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

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MENTAL HEALTH

Mental Disorders

Treatment

Like depression, it's often possible to successfully manage SAD. Treatments may include:

  • Light therapy. This is the main treatment for many people with winter depression. In light therapy, you sit a few feet from a special lamp that's 10 to 20 times brighter than ordinary indoor lights for 30 or more minutes each day, usually in the morning. You can do other activities, such as reading or eating breakfast, while sitting in front of the light. Light therapy is easy to administer and has relatively few side effects. Levels of melatonin in your blood are decreased when your eyes are exposed to bright light, and levels of serotonin may increase.

  • Medication. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant in combination with light therapy, or as an alternative, if light therapy isn't working. Summer depression is generally treated with antidepressants. Examples include paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and venlafaxine (Effexor).

  • The duration of treatment with medications varies. On the basis of your history of SAD, your doctor may suggest you start medication before the time your signs and symptoms have usually developed and continue the medication beyond the time the signs and symptoms have usually abated. This may be from the middle of fall to the middle of spring. If you have a double depression, in which an underlying depression is complicated during the winter by SAD, your doctor may prescribe treatment with medication for a longer period.

  • Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy helps you identify and modify negative thoughts and behaviors that may play a role in bringing about signs and symptoms of SAD. You and your psychiatrist or psychologist may also talk about ways to reduce stress in your life.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:14 AM