A sad snowman.

Acupuncture for Seasonal Affective Disorder

A sad snowman.I think we all start to feel the lack of light as the seasons change. The sun is lower in the sky, and for fewer hours, and before you know it we are all complaining about the lights. Of course some people take the changes harder than others – seasonal affective disorder is a particular problem in this area of the country. If you have it, is there something that you can do? Yes, of course!

The most common approach to treating SAD is phototherapy or light therapy – being exposed to full-spectrum or specific wavelengths of light for multiple hours in the day. Phototherapy is considered quite effective for SAD, though it may not be appropriate for you – particularly if you are on certain medications, have complications with your eyes, or are always needing to be on the move.

If standard treatment isn’t working for you, consider acupuncture as a good alternative. We have spoken about acupuncture and depression before, specifically in the context of major depressive disorder. Also, the available research continues to advance with positive results, even if some areas of study still need clarification. Overall, acupuncture makes a good case for treating SAD as a standalone or addition to phototherapy because of its ability to adjust the brain’s balance of neurotransmitters, or through regulating the liver. (In East Asian Medicine, the liver is considered to be the organ most responsible for ensuring smooth transitions between emotional states.) So, people who suffer from SAD can use acupuncture to help them during periods where they feel most affected by the lack of light.

As with any other type of depression, using acupuncture for SAD can help pick you up out of your low points, but it doesn’t replace the social support network needed to help keep you going in the long haul. With SAD this is typically less of a problem since depression symptoms are seasonal, and thus time-limited. Even still, during the stress of the holidays, or the severity of the presentation in any given winter, social support is still important.

If you have been struggling with depression during the holidays or the winter season, perhaps getting some acupuncture can be just the pick-up you need. There’s no need to wait – consider scheduling your consultation today.