Battling Seasonal Affective Disorder

Battling Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you or someone you know suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and requires the assistance of a neurologist near Stony Brook, Dr. James Bruno at Three Village Neurology is here to provide quality neurological care. Please visit our contact us page if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment. 

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that strikes people during the changes of the seasons, just as the name would indicate. Typically, the condition is experienced from the fall into the late weeks of winter. Although in some more rare cases, exceptions can be made for the spring and summertime as well. This can have strong effects on an individual’s work and social life because they will tend to be moodier and socially withdrawn. Dr. James Bruno, a certified neurologist near Stony Brook, is highly trained and experienced when it comes to treating depressive disorders such as SAD. 

Patients who experience this kind of depression shouldn’t make the choice to simply endure without the assistance of others. That being said, there are treatments available that can help alleviate the symptoms of this disorder. If you are looking for help with managing your seasonal affective disorder, then Three Village Neurology can assist. Our neurologist near Stony Brook can help diagnose and treat your seasonal disorder and get you back to enjoying your everyday life! Before undergoing an evaluation, you should consider and evaluate your symptoms.

Symptoms Of Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Feeling depressed most of or all of the day. 
  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed. 
  • Low energy levels.
  • Issues with sleeping. 
  • Changes in appetite or weight.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide. 
  • Difficulty concentrating. 

Season Specific Symptoms:

  • Winter and Fall SAD:
    • Oversleeping.
    • Overeating or cravings for foods high in carbohydrates. 
    • Weight gain.
    • Fatigue. 
  • Spring and Summer SAD: 
    • Restlessness. 
    • Lack of appetite. 
    • Weight loss.
    • Heightened levels of anxiety. 
    • Violent behavior.

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Circadian Rhythm – The reduced levels of sun exposure in the winter and fall may throw off your internal clock and cause a feeling of depression. 
  • Serotonin Levels Reduced levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin which is responsible for making you feel good and happy will affect your moods greatly. A drop in serotonin could be due to the lack of sunlight in the colder months. 
  • Melatonin Levels – The weather changes can also affect your levels of melatonin which helps your body relax and fall asleep.  

Treatments For SAD: 

  • Light Therapy – This involves sitting close to lightboxes and exposing yourself to light for the first few hours of your day. This can help increase levels of serotonin and melatonin which may potentially relieve feelings of depression. 
  • Medications – As for most psychological disorders, SAD can be treated with the use of anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications. This is used more for those who experience SAD at extreme levels, including depressive episodes. 
  • Psychotherapy – Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy is usually effective at helping those who experience SAD move past their feelings of sadness.

Differentiating Between Neurological Sleep Disorders and SAD

Some individuals that believe they are suffering from seasonal affective disorder may actually be experiencing a neurological sleep disorder instead. A common symptom of SAD usually involves difficulty sleeping at night. If you are someone who happens to experience this symptom during the winter and fall seasons, you may be misdiagnosing yourself. It is important to distinguish between the two so that you fully understand your complication. 

The 3 most common neurological sleep disorders are the following: 

  1. Narcolepsy – This disorder is described as falling asleep at random times while in the middle of performing daily tasks. 
  2. Sleep Apnea – This involves the inability to breathe adequately while sleeping. 
  3. Insomnia – This is characterized as being unable to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Thus resulting in insufficient rest. 

These neurological sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated by a neurologist near Stony Brook through the following tests:

  1. Polysomnography – A study that evaluates the factors that may disrupt sleep such as oxygen levels and body movements.
  2. Electroencephalogram – This study looks closely at brain waves and activity during sleep.
  3. Genetic Blood Testing – A test that helps to diagnose any potential sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and others. 

A neurologist may treat these disorders through various methods including prescribing sleep medications or melatonin supplements. We may also suggest different lifestyle changes as well depending on your exact ailment and its severity. Nonetheless, Dr. James Bruno is here to help you through whatever neurological issues you may be facing and is committed to finding a solution for you.

Our Neurologist Near Stony Brook Can Help With Your SAD or Sleep Disorder

If you or a loved one experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder, then you already understand the difficulty and frustration that can come with trying to manage these feelings. However, you do not have to try and tough this out on your own. Dr. James Bruno at Three Village Neurology is here to help you with your neurological issues. We can help diagnose and treat your disorders and help you get back to enjoying your life. Our neurologist near Stony Brook treats each patient as individuals, doing all that we can for the patient themselves. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, you can call our office at 1-631-751-0790 or you can contact us online