Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment available through Personal Counseling

Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment available through Personal Counseling

Many people develop cabin fever during the winter months. Some eat or sleep more or simply feel blue. These are normal reactions that often occur when daylight hours dwindle during the cold seasons.

People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), however, have an even stronger reaction when they move into fall or winter. They may begin to feel depressed, fatigued, lethargic or show other symptoms that disappear as summer approaches.

SAD is a type of depression that can impair daily life, but can be treated easily and successfully with light-box therapy. The light boxes mimic sunlight and can be an effective treatment for SAD.

In many cases it’s the only treatment needed. Typically, users sit next to the box for 20 to 30 minutes daily. Dr. Jeri Rockett, director of Personal Counseling and Testing, says people who use light therapy can experience positive results in one to two weeks.

To abate the effects of SAD, Rockett suggests also “getting out in the sun during the day, sleeping regular hours and exercising.”

The Personal Counseling office has light boxes available free of charge for St. Thomas students, faculty and staff. The boxes are situated at computer stations so users may do work while receiving full-spectrum light.

Those who think they may have SAD are encouraged to call Personal Counseling, (651) 962-6780, or visit the Personal Counseling office located in Room 360, Murray-Herrick Campus Center, to make an appointment for a screening with a psychologist.