As the winter months approach, many individuals experience a shift in their emotional well-being. The feelings of sadness or depression that often come hand in hand with this time of year are commonly associated with a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Each year, approximately 10 million Americans experience the impact of this specific type of depression. It’s worth noting that its symptoms tend to intensify during certain seasons, with winter being commonly associated as the most challenging time of the year for individuals affected by it.
One factor contributing to the condition is the limited exposure to sunlight and the adverse effects of colder weather. These factors can disrupt neurotransmitter levels, including serotonin and dopamine in the brain which play a crucial role in our overall well-being. Typically, these chemicals are responsible for promoting feelings of well-being and happiness. However, if there is a deficiency in these chemicals, it can lead to the development of mood disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
How Can You Tell if it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Given that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is classified as a type of depression, it exhibits numerous signs and symptoms that are commonly observed in major depression. It’s important to be aware of these common indicators:
- A sadness that persists and doesn’t go away within a reasonable amount of time.
- Feeling irritated or on edge.
- Not having interest in things or activities that you normally would.
- Experiencing feelings of dread or hopelessness.
- Experiencing issues with concentration or motivation.
Some individuals may experience different symptoms depending on whether they have winter-pattern or summer-pattern Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
For those with summer-pattern SAD, common symptoms may include:
- Feelings of anxiety or anxiousness.
- An inability to gain restful sleep.
- Changes in appetite, leading to weightloss.
- Feelings of rage or angry outbursts.
Recognizable signs of winter-pattern Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) commonly experienced include:
- Sleeping too much.
- Increased eating, leading to weight gain.
- Withdrawling from social activities and friends.
Your doctor plays a crucial role in helping you identify patterns in your symptoms. By closely working with them, you can gain valuable insights into your condition. For instance, if you notice a recurring pattern of depressive symptoms from October to May, followed by an improvement during the summer months until the next October, discussing this with your doctor can provide further clarity and understanding.
How TMS Can Help Those Affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder
When other treatments fail to alleviate symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) can offer patients a much-needed source of relief. Its effectiveness in addressing SAD symptoms has been proven in cases where alternative treatments have fallen short. TMS is a remarkable method that stimulates brain cells by using targeted magnetic pulses. The process involves placing a specially designed coil over the desired area of the scalp.
The beauty of TMS lies in its medication-free nature, as it is completely non-invasive and painless. It’s an innovative and effective way to promote brain health without any discomfort or side effects to worry about.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is not only effective but also has long-lasting benefits. In fact, for certain patients, the positive effects of TMS treatment can endure for at least one year. This means that individuals can experience lasting relief from their symptoms and enjoy an improved quality of life for an extended period of time.
While individual outcomes may differ, undergoing a TMS treatment course is usually sufficient to alleviate your symptoms for the entire season. There are instances where patients might require a maintenance session if they experience any signs of symptom recurrence.
If you feel TMS might be an option for your symptoms, please do not hesitate to contact our office.