Feeling “S A D”
FOR ANTIGO TIMES
Antigo, WI. – Fall is upon us again; the leaves are falling, deer season has begun, and pumpkin spice is in the air. The days are becoming shorter and the nights are longer, Winter Solstice is approaching but are you prepared?
Seasonal Affective Disorder otherwise known as “SAD” is a true medical condition which individuals may suffer from a multitude of symptoms including feeling sad, down, and hopeless during the fall/winter season. Additionally, individuals may suffer from increased appetite, weight gain, hypersomnia (increased sleep), and fatigue. If you’re thinking that these symptoms are the same as depression, then you would be correct. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 Criteria), Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subset of depression. The easiest way to explain SAD is experiencing depression symptoms in a seasonal pattern. Statistics are difficult to decipher but anywhere from 0.4% to 10% of the US population is affected. Risk factors include being female (or female sex), living far from the equator, and history of depression.
According to Dr. Shane Franklin, Family Medicine Physician at Aspirus Antigo Clinic, “Individuals with SAD may be treated in a number of ways including light therapy, medications, and counseling.” Since its recognition as a medical illness in the 1980’s, light therapy has been the mainstay of treatment. Bright-light therapy consists of using a light box which emits 10,000 lux for 20-60 day within in one hour of awakening daily. Anti-depressants can be successfully used to treat SAD. Counseling such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used as well. Any of these modalities alone or in combination with each other may be used to treat SAD.
Dr. Franklin reminds patients that “an official diagnosis can only come from your healthcare provider. It is recommended that you discuss your symptoms with your provider prior to any treatment including Bright-light Therapy.” Additionally, if you have reoccurring thoughts of suicide or self-harm please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The fall and winter seasons can be beautiful times of the year, just remember to enjoy it.
Avery MD, David. “Seasonal affective disorder: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis.” UpToDate, edited by Peter Roy-Byme MD and David Solomon MD, 13 Feb. 2019.
Avery MD, David. “Seasonal Affective Disorder: Treatment .” UpToDate, edited by Peter Roy-Byme MD and David Solomon MD, 23 Aug. 2019.
Michael DO, David. “Seasonal Affectie Disorder (SAD).” Medscape, edited by Randon S. Welton MD, 15 Nov. 2016.
Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Its 7,700 employees are focused on improving the health and well-being of people throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians. Aspirus was recognized in 2018 and 2019 by IBM Watson Health as a Top 15 Health System in its annual study identifying the top-performing health systems in the country. For more information, visit aspirus.org.