Complementary Health Approaches for Seasonal Affective Disorder
As the days become shorter in the autumn, some people develop symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Symptoms may include low energy, sleeping more than usual, overeating, weight gain, craving carbohydrates, and social withdrawal.
SAD may be treated with antidepressant medications and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy (a type of psychotherapy). Light therapy may also be useful as a preventive treatment for people with a history of SAD.
Several dietary supplements, including St. John’s wort, vitamin D, and melatonin, have been suggested as possible treatments for SAD, but only a small amount of research has been done on each of them, and the evidence for any benefit is limited. For St. John’s wort, there’s also a safety concern; this herb interacts in harmful ways with many medicines. Talk to your doctor if you are using any integrative approaches.