- You've experienced depression and other symptoms for at least two consecutive years, during the same season every year.
- The periods of depression have been followed by periods without depression.
- There are no other explanations for the changes in your mood or behavior.
After doing a little reading, I learned that light therapy is effective for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some studies have also found that cognitive behavioral therapy is also helpful. The focus of treatment is to improve coping with the winter season. The thought "restructuring" focuses on challenging the negative thoughts related to the winter season, the weather conditions, and lack of light (Rohan et al, 2004). More specifically the cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on:
- Thinking positively
- Increasing activity levels
- Socializing with other people
- Being aware of SAD symptoms
- Going outside
- Making home brighter
- Going South on a trip/vacation
- Keeping a regular sleep schedule
Rohan, K. J., Lindsey, K. T., Roecklein, K. A. & Lacy, T. J. (2004). Cognitive-behavioral therapy, light therapy, and their combination in treating seasonal affective disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 80, 273-283.