The US Department of Health and Human Services lists a 2-year, minimum symptom profile of depression, as the diagnostic criteria for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Some symptoms may include low energy, poor sleep, overeating, and social withdrawal. Light therapy, exercise, melatonin, Vitamin D, St. John’s Wort and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have been used to improve these symptoms to varying degrees. Combinations of exercise, light therapy and CBT, appear to be more effective than light therapy alone. St. John’s Wort had limited effectiveness for this condition, and had multiple cautions for drug interactions and side effects. Melatonin may improve sleep, but has not shown effective intervention for other SAD symptoms. Evidence for use of Vitamin D has been mixed and requires more study.
For more information on using integrative healthcare to treated SAD, please visit https://nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/Seasonal-Affective-Disorder-science?nav=cd#heading2.