If you live in Oregon or other parts of the US with cold winters, chances are you’re already spending more time inside. For some people, winter is their favorite time of year to catch up on some good books, don comfy socks and sweaters, and drink hot cocoa. For others, winter can be a difficult season for mental health, particularly for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
You might be surprised to know that over ten million Americans are affected by SAD each year. When the season transitions from summer to autumn and winter, people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, may experience many symptoms, including increased fatigue and depression symptoms.
If you are wondering what Seasonal Affective Disorder is, as well as what some common and holistic treatments are for Seasonal Affective Disorder, this is the blog for you. We will also go over a little bit about CBD and what we know so far about S.A.D. syndrome and CBD.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that affects people four to five months out of the year. For some people with SAD, as autumn transitions into winter and the days grow shorter, depression symptoms begin to manifest.
This common type of Seasonal Affective Disorder is referred to as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression. With this type of S.A.D. Syndrome, symptoms begin to abate in spring as the days grow longer. Scientists are still figuring out what causes SAD, but it is believed that the lack of light common in the autumn and winter seasons may contribute to decreased serotonin levels.
Another less common type of Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs during the spring and summer seasons. This kind of SAD is referred to as summer-pattern SAD or summer depression. For this blog, we will be covering the winter-pattern type as it is more common, although some symptoms of SAD overlap for both types. Read on to learn more about the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder below.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder reoccur during the same seasons every year. Some of the symptoms of SAD may include:
- Oversleeping and Overeating
- Feeling depressed nearly every day/all-day
- Feeling fatigued
- Difficulty with focus, thinking, or making decisions
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Agitation and excessive movement such as pacing
- Thoughts of death and suicide
Not every person suffers the same SAD symptoms and some overlap with other mental health concerns. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, see a healthcare/mental health professional. They can help you make a plan and get the help you need to manage your symptoms.
If you are having thoughts of death or suicide, contact a mental health professional immediately or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disorder or disease.
With these symptoms in mind, what are some of the common treatments offered for Seasonal Affective Disorder? More on that below.
Common and Natural Treatments for SAD
There are several kinds of treatments available or recommended for people looking for help with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some of these include lifestyle changes or natural treatments. Some of these treatments include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Talk Therapy
- Light Therapy
- Supplemental Vitamin D
- Getting more sunlight in the morning
- Lifestyle changes, such as exercise & diet changes
While each of these treatments for SAD can be helpful, a combination of approaches may be necessary. People with SAD may consider speaking to a health/mental health care professional combined with other healthy lifestyle changes and practices. But what exactly is light therapy? More on that below.
Light Therapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder
Light Therapy is commonly recommended in connection to SAD and has been found, according to several studies, to help alleviate symptoms in some users. According to this review, “analysis of randomized, controlled trials suggests that bright light treatment and dawn simulation for Seasonal Affective Disorder and bright light for non-seasonal depression are efficacious.”
If you are considering light therapy for symptoms of seasonal depression, as always, speak to your healthcare provider. If you have already spoken to your doctor, and they have approved light therapy, make sure to research a quality SAD lamp that is more likely to work for you.
What are some things to look out for in a quality SAD lamp to get the most out of light therapy? According to The Washington Post, you want to make sure you find a lightbox with at least 10,000 lux, with instructions on the distance you need to sit from the lamp. The lamp should also measure around 12 to 14 inches, or “the size of a desktop monitor.”
It is also beneficial to form a routine with light therapy. You might start by using your S.A.D. Syndrome lamp in the early morning hours for about thirty minutes a day. As long as you sit close enough to the lamp, you can eat, drink, read, and perform other tasks while using your SAD lamp.
It can take several weeks to a month for the potential benefits of light therapy to kick in. A SAD lamp is also an investment and will likely cost you 100 dollars or more for the appropriate amount of light, size, and UV filtering you should expect from a quality product.
Another natural treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder to consider if you aren’t ready to purchase a S.A.D. Syndrome lamp is getting more sunlight early in the day when possible.
Now that we’ve gone over a little bit about the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder as well as common treatments, you might be wondering whether CBD has anything to do with SAD. More on that, as well as on CBD below.
Does CBD Help with Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is not intended to treat or cure any disease, disorder, or health condition. In addition, no major research had been published about whether CBD may help with SAD. However, research around CBD and depression, as well as other mental health conditions, is ongoing.
According to the conclusions of this study on cannabidiol (CBD) and depression in rats, “CBD may be beneficial for the treatment of clinical depression and other states with prominent anhedonia.” Anhedonia is an inability to feel pleasure, which is also a symptom of SAD.
Although this is just one example of the early studies in this area and in no way suggests CBD as a medical treatment for SAD or depression, this study shows promise for the future.
If you want to try CBD for yourself and have spoken with your doctor, read on to learn a little bit more about CBD, CBD safety, and potential products to add to your self-care routine.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of many phytocannabinoids or plant-derived cannabinoids present in the hemp and Cannabis Sativa plant. The most common form of CBD you will find on the market is Hemp Extract Oil or CBD Oil, which is derived from processing the hemp plant’s leaves and flowers.
Is CBD safe?
CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated in humans, and no physical dependence effects have been reported according to the World Health Organization (WHO),
CBD is considered safe for many use cases, though much more research is needed into CBD and its long-term side effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) may interact with certain medications. If you would like more information about CBD, possible side effects, and medication interactions, please visit the FDA’s website and speak to your doctor.
CBD for Winter Relaxation
If you are looking for CBD to help with a feeling of full-body wellness, you may like to try our Strength of Hope products. Below we will go over some of the details about our CBD Oil and CBD mints to promote relaxation. Keep in mind, Strength of Hope products are not intended to treat or cure any disease or disorder.
Strength of Hope CBD Oil
Strength of Hope CBD Oil consists of just a few simple ingredients; our premium hemp extract CBD oil, MCT coconut oil, and a stevia/vanilla flavoring. Each one-ounce bottle contains either 500 mg, 1000 mg, or 2500 CBD for your needs.
Relax tense muscles and increase the sensation of full-body wellness with this amazing hemp extract tincture. It’s easy to take by mouth or to add to your favorite beverage.
Strength of Hope CBD Mints
Strength of Hope CBD Mints is a delicious and convenient way to get the effects of our original CBD Oil in a tasty mint form. Each 28-count tin comes with 10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg CBD per mint. The easy-carry tin is simple to fit into your pocket, purse, or glove box for discrete dosing no matter the time of day or year.
CBD mints come in two delicious flavors: peppermint and cinnamon. Our mints are terrific as part of a self-care regimen to manage day-to-day stress and promote relaxation. Try as part of your nighttime routine to help slip into a better night’s sleep.
Questions about CBD?
If you are looking to learn more about CBD, check out our “Learn” tab for information about CBD, Hemp, and Strength of Hope Products. You might begin by reading a brief introduction to Hemp and CBD to get started, or read our guide to the Oregon CBD Market. Another of our recent blogs worth checking out for the winter season is CBD Skincare for Winter.
Talk to Your Doctor
Our CBD products are best used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and communication with your doctor. We always recommend our customers speak with their doctor before using CBD.