Clear Up Your SAD Depression With Non-Drug Therapy


This is a guest post from Pierre Coetzer. If you’d like to guest post for, then please take a look at the Write For Us section. 

SAD (seasonal affective disorder) depression has probably been with us since the beginning of man. In Scandinavia in the 6th century a scholar wrote about the gloominess that afflicts people of all ages when wintertime arrives.

This seasonal disorder is now thought to be related to the diminished amount of sunlight we receive in the colder winter months. Without sufficient natural light our bodies go out of sync, we sleep more, eat more, have less energy and grow depressed.

The first choice treatment for most kinds of depression tends to be pharmacotherapy, only addressing the symptoms and not really providing a cure. Medicine has however started to take a broader and more favorable view of other disciplines when looking to help patients with their problems.

From cognitive behavior therapy and occupational therapy to problem solving therapy and outdoor therapy; there are now a range of alternatives used in the medical field as standalone or add-on therapy for depressive episodes.

Antidepressant medications also carry the risk of unwanted side effects. Some of the more common side effects are weight gain, loss of libido, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and gastrointestinal disturbances. The severity of side effects is often such that it is the main cause of patients to default on their antidepressant therapy.

There are a number of alternative therapies available to help relieve the symptoms of the winter blues:

  • Phototherapy (light therapy) directly addresses what is thought to be the cause of seasonal affective disorder. During research into the condition in the early 1980’s it improved patients’ mood, thereby providing proof that dwindling sunlight causes the disorder.
  • There have been other advances in technology that help make homes lighter. Heliostats are tech savvy devices that reflect sunlight into the home. A computer directs its movement according to the angle of the sun.
  • Clear away any foliage that block the light out, open blinds and if you can afford to, install a skylight.
  • Getting more light into your home also helps even if it isn’t direct sunlight. For example, this NatureBright Sun Touch Plus Light & Ion Therapy Lamp has been clinically proven to alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder after just a few days of use.
  • Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Omega-3s play an important role in mood and are found in abundance in fish like mackerel, salmon, and herring. You can also guarantee sufficient intake by taking omega-3 supplements.
  • The use of a large air purifiercan also elevate mood. In the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine the use of purified air to treat seasonal affective disorder was researched. Other studies have shown that as a treatment it is on par with bright light therapy.If you read these UV air purifier reviews you will see that they have more benefit to the home than just an elevated mood.
  • Spend more time outside. Get as much light as possible, even on cloudy days. There is thought to be maximum advantage if time is spent outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.
  • Mind-body therapies may help relieve depression symptoms and stress. These include: acupuncture, yoga, and meditation.
  • Get physical exercise. Keeping fit and doing exercise release endorphins or “feel good” hormones. It also relieves stress which can worsen depressive episodes.
The winter blues may be as old as the seasons themselves, but with the passage of time and technological advances we now better understand this condition. Fortunately we have a number of options available to help lift the gloom.

Author Bio: Pierre Coetzer is a freelance writer living in sunny South Africa. He spent his early career in the medical world with a special interest in psychiatry. He regularly writes about health and lifestyle issues.



  1. You can also buy full spectrum light bulbs that screw in to a lamp like a normal bulb but give off the UV light your body needs. They’re not that expensive either.

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