Now that Spring is well and truly on its way warmer sunny days lay ahead to bring about relief from the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as SAD, a form of recurrent major depression affecting some people during seasonal changes. Experts say that a lack of sunlight during winter months with shorter days can cause SAD. Sufferers are thought to lack vitamin D that is considered to play a significant role in serotonin activity. Those with SAD may have trouble regulating levels of serotonin. (A major neurotransmitter involved in mood.) Sufferers of SAD might have little energy, sleep too much, and crave sugar or starchy type foods. Symptoms can be mild to severe. Symptoms Not all the symptoms will be present at once in a person. Each case is an individual one with symptoms differing per person. Feelings of hopelessness and sadness Suicide Ideation Insomnia Oversleeping Craving for sweet or starchy foods Weight gain Lethargy or Fatigue Energy levels drop Less physical activity Difficulty concentrating Irritability Increased emotional sensitivity to rejection Social isolation or avoidance of socialising loss of interest in regular activities Treatment For SAD Bright Light Therapy is commonly used for treating SAD to combat depression, anxiety, insomnia and other symptoms. Research has shown that Bright Light Therapy can treat those with SAD who are exposed to a special kind of light for 30 minutes a day. The artificial light is received by receptors in the eyes which trigger a serotonin release and encouraging a person’s natural sleep thus creating a feeling of wellbeing. Other treatments used to treat SAD are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) through counselling, Vitamin D and anti-depressants. From the three types of treatment available CBT is thought to be the most effective method for treating SAD long term. A combination of treatments can be used simultaneously. Sources Psychology Today News Medical Life Science Where to Get Help Talk to your doctor who can point you in the right direction. Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you. Visit ACA to search for a counsellor near you. Free 24/7 Counselling Services Lifeline on 13 11 14 Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 Headspace on 1800 650 890 Studying at aifc Equip yourself for life with Christian counselling skills. It’s a great opportunity to learn how you can help others in their time of need. For those who would like to enrol in aifc’s accredited Christian counselling courses we have two intakes per year for courses commencing around the following months: At The beginning of each year in February. Mid-Year courses commence in July. Enrolments open approximately 3 months prior the courses commencing. Enquire now and fill out the form with your details to receive course information by email. Note: A Masters course in Christian counselling will be introduced in 2018. Contact aifc Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm with your enquiries on 6242 5111 or toll free on 1300 721 397 Share this Facebook Twitter Pinterest Where to get help 24/7 Helplines Lifeline: 13 11 14 Kids Helplines: 1800 551 800 Mensline: 1300 789 978 Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36 Headspace: 1800 650 890 Talk to your doctor and see a mental health professional. Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you.