What is S.A.D. and How Can Hypnotherapy Help?
S.A.D. stands for seasonal affective disorder, or “winter depression” as it is most often known. In rare cases people may also have reverse S.A.D. or “summer depression”, but for this article we will focus on the winter form of S.A.D., which is the most common.
Symptoms of S.A.D. vary, but they mostly consist of the following:
- Sleeping issues: too much and/or disruptions in sleep
- Energy loss, fatigue
- Feelings: hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, and guilt
- Not able to think clearly, concentrate, indecisiveness
- Loss of libido
- Depressive mood – sad, empty, tearful
- Loss of pleasure or interest in daily activities
- Noticeable changes in appetite, cravings, or weight
How S.A.D. Affects Us
Since winter is the darkest time of the year, it is no surprise that S.A.D. most likely relates to the effect of seasonal light change on humans. You could say it’s similar to that of hibernation and reproductive cycles in some animals. Light can affect serotonin and melatonin levels—these are two chemicals in our brains that relate to energy and mood.
Melatonin is what makes us feel sleepy helping to regulate our sleep cycles, and serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, memory, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep, and libido. When the days get shorter, we naturally produce less serotonin. Those who suffer from depression, including S.A.D., produce lower than average serotonin.
Other factors like getting enough Vitamin D and other dietary needs as well as a person’s daily activity play a key role in a person suffering from S.A.D. If it were a case of simply lacking sunlight, then everyone would be affected.
Our beliefs are what directly affects our reality. This time of year, our thoughts, and feelings about winter and in general play a key factor in our experience of S.A.D. and depression. This means that someone who dreads the darker, shorter days, flu season, tighter finances, and so on will have different feelings and experiences than someone who focuses on the enjoyable parts of winter, playing in the snow, watching the snow fall, holidays, etc.
How Hypnotherapy Can Help People with S.A.D.
Hypnosis is one of the most effective and efficient options for permanent behavioural change. It allows people to be more suggestive to change. Hypnotherapy can create a brighter outlook on life through the power of positive subconscious suggestion.
It may be suggested that hypnosis can bring on a higher production of serotonin, a.k.a. the “feel good” neurotransmitter. It can also help with letting go of long-held negative beliefs, and even help to reframe negative situations into feeling more like positive outcomes. It can also help with habits to establish a healthier routine in those darker months.
Through hypnotherapy you are training your brain to redirect your outlook on this time of year, naturally breaking apart old neural networks that manage patterns of thought that trigger unhelpful feelings.
The rain doesn’t last forever. Neither does your S.A.D. have to. Call me if you are at all curious about hypnotherapy for depression (including S.A.D.) and whether it’s the best solution for you.
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