Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Synopsis

Winter isn't a "wonderland" for everyone. Every year, millions of us feel our energy levels ebb and spirits fall as the days grow shorter. The condition is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and it can cause depression, reduce your productivity, and make it harder to control your appetite. In this no-nonsense, up-to-date survival kit for weathering the winter blues, Dr. Norman Rosenthal explains what causes seasonal mood swings and what you can do about them. A self-test allows you to evaluate your own level of SAD and helps you determine an appropriate plan of action. The book covers an expanded variety of methods proven to help you feel better-including new developments in light therapy, antidepressant medications, and breakthrough self-help strategies. Convenient menus and easy recipes make sticking to a healthy winter diet more enjoyable, and a new section on the benefits of exercise motivates you to stay active even when it's gloomy outside. A step-by-step guide helps you organize your yearly schedule to anticipate seasonal changes, and a special chapter for family and friends teaches loved ones effective ways to show support. Like a ray of light on an otherwise cloudy day, Dr. Rosenthal's expertise, warmth, and enthusiasm will inspire you to reclaim the winter months and find ways to celebrate even the darkest days of the year.

Excerpt

When I decided to update Winter Blues for this revised edition, I imagined that this new version would involve only minor updates. I am excited to report that I was wrong. A great deal has happened in the seven years since the previous edition appeared, much of it of great relevance to those affected by the changing seasons.

I have substantially updated the entire treatment section, reflecting the maturation of the field. In the two decades since my colleagues and I first described seasonal affective disorder (SAD), there have been many new therapeutic developments. Several types of light therapy devices are now available, and consumers need to understand the distinctions between them to make informed choices. The science of light therapy has also advanced, and I am very pleased to share the research results with you. Just as exciting, however, are new developments in other forms of treatment: antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and a variety of things you can do yourself to enjoy all seasons fully.

An enormous study of SAD, sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, finds that starting a specific antidepressant in the autumn can actually prevent the development of winter symptoms in many people. Chapter 10 describes this study and outlines the medical options available for treating SAD. A vigorous form of psychotherapy, known as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), may rival in efficacy the gold . . .

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