Seasonal Affective Disorder: What It is and How to Overcome It

Maybe the pumpkins have come out or the Christmas lights are going up. Cheery music plays in all the shopping centers and on your car radio. Children giggle while waiting in line for a chuckling Santa in the mall. But the fun festivities on the outside don’t match the sad–or sometimes depressed–feelings you’re feeling on the inside. Why is that?

Our author and biblical counselor June Hunt can help you:

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

QUESTION: “Recently I moved to a town that has gloomy weather, and now I’m feeling gloomy. Everything else in my life is positive. What do I do? It’s as if the fog outside my window has invaded my mind and muddled my thinking.”

ANSWER: Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression associated with deprivation of sunlight. SAD, also called the “winter blues,” typically begins in the fall with shorter days and less sunlight and subsides in the spring as the days get longer. Too little sunlight entering the eye produces in the brain a hormone called melatonin, which is released with the onset of darkness. Too much melatonin creates a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus region of the brain. In animals, melatonin controls hibernation and causes a decrease in activity. In humans, SAD causes symptoms such as excessive sleep, lethargy, overeating and depression.

The best treatment for SAD is light—light is therapeutic.

  • First, avail yourself of any and every opportunity to get into the natural sunlight (outdoor exercise, morning, noon or afternoon walks, or anytime the sun is shining).
  • Second, you could purchase a specially designed light box that produces artificial light and then expose yourself to the light for 30 minutes, or up to two hours daily.
  • Take vacations in places where you can soak in the sun.

“Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.”(Ecclesiastes 11:7) 

This post is an excerpt from Depression: Walking from Darkness into the Dawn by June Hunt. To learn more about this biblical counseling quick-guide, continue reading…

Depression: Walking from Darkness into the Dawn

Do you feel the darkness of depression closing in on you? Can anything dispel the darkness and bring back true peace and contentment to your heart? June Hunt’s quick-reference counseling guide gives you a clear overview on all types of depression, from normal mood swings to psychotic depression. Through charts and easy bulleted points, June Hunt explains what happens to the mind, emotions, will, and body when various form of depression hit. In Depression: Emerging From Darkness into the Dawn, June Hunt shows you:

Depression will shed light on the spiritual implications of depression, and how it can actually leave lasting effects when our bodies experience depression for extended periods of time. God has created us with the ability to bounce back after experiences that weigh heavy on us for short periods of time, but our bodies were not designed to endure long bouts of depressed feelings.

The last section titled “Steps to Solution ” gives Biblical advice on how to manage depression, such as:

  • Key Bible passages to read
  • Do’s and don’ts for family and friends
  • Tests to gauge what kind of depression you’re facing
  • Questions and Answers on how depression effects your body
  • The 4 points of God’s plan for us
  • And much more.

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