As the seasons change, so do people’s moods. If you are someone who struggles with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD as it is more commonly known, you will understand this all too well. Despite the fact that mental health disorders can cause disruption in people’s lives throughout the year, mood disorders are much more likely to materialize in winter.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), 4-6 percent of people will experience winter depression and an additional 10-20 percent will experience mild SAD. Instead of letting SAD negatively impact your life, learn how to regain control with some tried and tested treatment options.
What are the signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD?
Also known as seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder usually arises during the onset of winter. When the days are shorter and there is less sunlight to give the body a healthy dose of Vitamin D, the full-body symptoms of SAD may transpire.
They may include a few or all of the following:
- Excess sleepiness
- Social isolation/withdrawal
- Appetite changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of loneliness
- Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
Perhaps the best way to truly understand if it is SAD that you are suffering from is to visit a doctor who can provide an accurate diagnosis.
Why shouldn’t I use prescription drugs to treat SAD?
Sometime back in the late 1990s, prescription opioid drugs began circulating, with devastating outcomes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42,249 people died as a result of opioid overdose in the United States in 2016 alone.
Since opioid medications are usually prescribed to patients with depression and other mood disorders, it is imperative that you make yourself aware of the risks prior to using this type of treatment.
The most common risks include:
- Mood swings
- Intense itching
So, how can you steer clear of the risks?
Well, there are many other effective treatment options for SAD. Here are four ways in which you can relieve the symptoms of SAD without using medications with potentially unpleasant side effects.
1.Enjoy a Vacation
Geographic variation may have an intense impact on the prevalence of SAD, with people in Nordic countries experiencing the symptoms of SAD more often than people in sun-drenched places around the world like Jamaica, Africa and Australia, for example. For this reason, consider taking a trip to warmer climates. Exposing yourself to new environments will undoubtedly lift the mood and inject much-needed hope into the life of a person who is feeling hopeless.
2. Explore the Great Outdoors
In addition to relaxing on vacation, make sure you spend plenty of time exploring the great outdoors, too. Heck, you don’t even need to go on vacation to experience the benefits of getting outdoors! A stroll in the park, a walk along the beach or a run with the pet dogs amidst the picturesque winter landscape could be just what the doctor ordered. Natural light from the sun will stimulate Vitamin D production and act as a form of light therapy, which has been proven to lift the mood.
3. Get Into a Routine
After a while, routine can get boring. This is why it is important to mix it up. On the other hand, routine is crucial for making you feel balanced and less stressed. It also ensures you accomplish all of the things you strive to do each day, which is always a perk for the mood. A harmonious lifestyle will positively influence your mental state, so give it a go.
4. Be Open About Your Feelings
Keeping things inside will make you overthink, which may contribute to SAD. Discuss your feelings with the people you trust, whether this is a neighbor, family member or your doctor. If you find it hard to talk it out, try writing it down. Surrounding yourself with good company is also an instant mood-booster.
5. Treating SAD with Medicinal Cannabis
If you’re sold on the idea of using medical marijuana to treat your mood disorder (and why wouldn’t you be?) the next step is to find San Francisco dispensaries that stock suitable cannabis strains/products. Although you can expect one of the seasoned budtenders inside a store to aid you in your quest to find a cannabis strain for SAD, it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the best strains for mood management.
Below, we touch upon some of the most effective cannabis strains for treating SAD:
- Blue Dream – A sweet strain with a pungent blueberry flavor/aroma, Blue Dream is a sure-fire SAD-buster, thanks to its cerebral high and stress relieving qualities. You can also expect a burst of creativity when you try this strain.
- Sour Grape – Why not try this balanced hybrid strain? A popular choice for pain relief, Sour Grape will leave you feeling clear-minded and free from anxiety.
- AK Cherry Lime – Enjoy an indulgent body high when you try this sativa-dominant hybrid. Sweet yet spicy, AK Cherry Lime is also frequently used for treating clinical depression.
- Lemon Skunk – Melt into a state of sublime relaxation with this appetite-promoting cannabis strain. The citrus-flavored strain is a good option for treating SAD, because it calms the entire mind.
A cannabis store that holds the relevant licenses and permits to legally sell medical-grade weed products will be worth looking into. Check out their online menu before visiting to get an idea of how you can medicate with cannabis.