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Tips for Overcoming Seasonal Depression and Addiction

Tips for Overcoming Seasonal Depression and Addiction

Do you believe that you or someone you care about needs seasonal depression and addiction treatment? It can be difficult to tell whether or not someone struggling with their mental health needs professional help, especially if it involves seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, it is essential to figure out if someone’s just experiencing typical winter or holiday blues or if they’re actually depressed.

SAD is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern. Most often, it strikes during the winter months, when there’s less sunlight and colder temperatures. During this season, people are indoors more often, but social events are more common. The combination of depression and the consistent breaks in routine during the holidays can be difficult to get through for people in addiction recovery or people dealing with addiction in general, but a dual diagnosis treatment program can help. If you’re looking for mental health or addiction treatment services in Massachusetts, reach out to Greater Boston Addiction Centers. You can call 877.920.6583 or contact our team online.

What Is Seasonal Depression and How Do You Overcome It?

Seasonal depression, also known as SAD, is more than just a fortuitous acronym. Its symptoms are real and can be hard to get through, especially if everyone else around you seems to be happy and celebrating the holidays. Symptoms of SAD include the following:

  • Craving carbohydrates
  • Feeling anxious or sluggish
  • Gaining weight
  • Having low energy
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Overeating

SAD can disrupt your normal routine — although it’s fair to say that routine disruption can also cause it because big changes can make you anxious and depressed. The symptoms of SAD may last only a few months, but that might be all it takes to harm your relationships, career, and other important aspects of your life. This is especially true if you’re also battling a substance use disorder or are in addiction recovery.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to manage the symptoms of SAD without professional help. Here are some tips for managing SAD:

  • Healthy diet—Maintaining a healthy diet is critical for maintaining excellent physical and mental health. Pass on excessive carbohydrates and consider adding more vegetable-packed dishes and hot bowls of soup to your winter diet.
  • Light therapy—The absence of sunlight is one of the reasons people feel more depressed in the winter months. That’s why light therapy is a common and effective treatment method. Take long walks during daylight hours or purchase special lamps to expose yourself to enough light to manage your seasonal depression.
  • Aerobic exercise—It can be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re depressed. However, aerobic workouts, particularly when done outside in the sunshine, can have a positive impact on your mood. An aerobic exercise routine releases endorphins to balance out the sadness and anxiety you feel because of SAD.
  • Vitamin D—You can add more vitamin D to your diet. Many people don’t receive enough of this vitamin through their diet and daily routine. Consider purchasing a vitamin D supplement.
  • Counseling—Discussing your experiences and feelings with a social worker, a professional therapist, or a psychiatrist can help you get through your winter blues. Therapy can also teach you to recognize triggers and adopt coping skills for depression.
  • Medication—Depending on the severity of your depression and the impact of SAD on your daily life, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you manage your mental health.

What Is the Link Between Seasonal Depression and Addiction?

People with a dual diagnosis of depression and addiction are familiar with the link between the two. Experts maintain that seeking professional treatment for a dual diagnosis is essential and that it should be done as soon as possible. Why? Co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression and addiction, for example, can only worsen as their respective symptoms start to affect each other.

Without professional treatment, SAD can get worse, or someone in recovery may relapse. Some people with SAD may self-medicate with addictive substances instead of getting the help they need to feel better. Remember that approximately 50% of all people with a mental health disorder will also develop a substance use disorder of some kind at some point.

Where Can You Get Seasonal Depression and Addiction Treatment?

If someone suffers from both SAD and a substance use disorder, they have a dual diagnosis. Therefore, they must look for facilities that offer dual diagnosis treatment programs.

Both of their conditions should be treated simultaneously and with similar urgency. If only the addiction is addressed, the untreated SAD may trigger a relapse back to substance abuse. An untreated substance use disorder may lead to addictive behaviors that worsen depressive symptoms.

With SAD, there’s a tendency to withdraw socially and feel a reduction in energy. If this is happening to you or someone you care about, you must immediately ascertain if SAD or addiction is part of the situation. Most mental health and addiction treatment centers will have at least one program that deals with clients with dual diagnosis issues, and if not, they can point you to the right place.

Ready To Learn More About the Mental Health Treatment Services at Greater Boston Addiction Centers?

If you’re looking for mental health and addiction treatment services in Massachusetts, reach out to Greater Boston Addiction Centers. We can help. Call 877.920.6583 or contact our team via our online form and let us get back to you.