Seasonal Affective Disorder and Addiction

Restore Center

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that comes about during changes in seasons. Usually, this type of disorder peaks in the late fall and early winter, and typically can end during the spring and summer months. However, episodes of this disorder can still occur during warmer months. During the fall and winter, when seasonal affective disorder occurs, people often experience weight gain, low energy, and appetite changes. Additionally, people who suffer from the disorder in the spring or summer may also deal with appetite and weight problems in addition to agitation, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. Seasonal affective disorder and addiction often go hand-in-hand, with many people turning to drugs and alcohol during the cold, dark winter months.

Seasonal affective disorder can be closely associated with addiction. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 20 percent of people diagnosed with a mood disorder such as seasonal affective disorder also have a substance abuse problem. While this occurs, it is optimal to address both disorders simultaneously instead of each one at a time. Agitation, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness are both commonly shared characteristics of seasonal affective disorder and addiction. While they are both influenced by genetic and environmental factors, seasonal affective disorder for those who are in the grips of an addiction or in recovery can be especially dangerous.

SAD and addiction

The Correlation Between SAD and Addiction

While seasonal affective disorder may trigger substance abuse and addiction, adversely, the substance itself may exacerbate further seasonal affective disorder symptoms. When seasonal affective disorder takes hold on a person, uncomfortable feelings such as overwhelming sadness, numbness, isolation, sleep disorders, digestive and food-related disorders and hopelessness may occur. While these symptoms may occur, addiction can be the next go-to action for those individuals with environmental and genetic factors that want to self-medicate. However, once a drink or a drug has left the body, depression can sink to an all-time low. The withdrawal effect itself can trigger the use of more drugs or alcohol, as temporary relief for such feelings allow this cycle to continue.

If left diagnosed, seasonal affective disorder can create a pain that may get in the way of an addict or alcoholics newfound life away from alcohol and/or drugs. However, once the problem has been identified, it can be possible to bring the depression and addiction under control.

While healthy strategies can combat seasonal affective disorder, it is important to be mindful of the seasons and how they can affect an individual’s mood without the use of drugs or alcohol. Some healthy strategies may include:

  • Maintaining a healthy sleep routine
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Exercising on a regular basis
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

While lack of sunlight can be thought to be the major contributor for seasonal affective disorder, low levels of serotonin, melatonin, and vitamin D during winter months can be supplemented by incorporated light therapy, vitamin D pills, and additional supplements to help combat this disorder. At Restore Health and Wellness, if you are caught in the grips of seasonal affective disorder and addiction, it can be treated simultaneously. With the correct medication, education, and counseling, effective treatment can help one to achieve lifelong sobriety. Additional parts of this type of dual diagnosis treatment can include:

  • Detox
  • Personal Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Holistic Treatments

Our drug rehab is located in the heart of California, where sunny skies and comfortable year-round temperatures negate the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. We see more and more people struggle with SAD and turn to drugs/alcohol during those cold and gloomy months. If you or a loved one are in search of a holistic addiction treatment center that values time well spent outdoors, contact us for a confidential assessment today.

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