Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapies

Table of Contents


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can be defined as “a type of recurring major depression with a seasonal pattern” (Melrose, 2015, p. 1). Its occurrence is frequently related to sunlight decrease during the winter season, but there are other patterns as well. Depending on latitude, SAD prevalence varies from 1.5% to 9% (Nussbaumer et al., 2015). Due to the predictable seasonal character of this disorder, it can be successfully prevented. Still, in case preventive measures were not taken, there are several alternatives for SAD therapy. This paper is dedicated to the analysis of SAD and some of its treatments.

Diagnosing Seasonal Affective Disorder

Successful treatment of any disorder is a consequence of timely and correct diagnosis. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5 (as cited in Melrose, 2015, p. 1), depression with a seasonal pattern is characterized with the beginning and ending annually during a specific season, while in other seasons, full remittance is observed. To be diagnosed as SAD, the symptoms should last for at least two years. Moreover, there should be more seasons with depression than seasons without it during a lifetime. The observations provide evidence that disorders following a seasonal pattern are most frequently observed in winter (Melrose, 2015). Nevertheless, they can happen during other seasons as well.

Symptoms typical of SAD usually include a sad mood and a lack of energy (Melrose, 2015). Thus, individuals with SAD can experience sadness, irritation; they may cry or be tired and lethargic. Also, they frequently observe problems with concentration, sleep longer than usual, feel low energy, experience a general decrease in their activity, quit their social activities, feel the need for carbohydrates and sugars, which frequently results in gaining weight (Melrose, 2015).

Therapy Alternatives and their Effectiveness

The research by Rohan et al. (2015) presents the results of a randomized control trial comparing the opportunities of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for SAD as compared to light therapy. In this case, CBT-SAD was an adapted cognitive therapy traditionally used for depression. It implies “behavioral activation and cognitive restructuring to improve coping with winter, thereby alleviating depression and fortifying against relapse and recurrence” (Rohan et al., 2015, p. 863). The therapy also includes the identification of pleasant events and experiences and their fortification as a tool to resist winter anhedonia. One of the core components of CBT-SAD was the early identification of symptoms such as depressive thoughts and behaviors typical of SAD with further implementation of CBT to prevent recurrence of SAD.

Light therapy in this research was provided with the use of the “23×15½x3¼-in. SunRay” (produced by SunBox Company, Gaithersburg, Md.), “which emits 10,000 lux of cool white fluorescent light through an ultraviolet filter” (Rohan et al., 2015, p. 863). Considering the higher effectiveness of morning light therapy, the initial dose was estimated at 30 minutes just after awakening, with the further increase by 15 minutes on a weekly basis in case there were no side effects. The maximum dose was fixed at two hours per day.

The sample for the study by Rohan et al. (2015) consisted of 177 patients. Eighty-eight patients were randomly assigned to CBT-SAD, and 89 to light therapy. The research provided the following evidence for the use of light therapy and CBT for treating SAD. Both therapies had a positive impact on SAD within this study. Thus, depression severity reduced over six weeks of trial, and there was no meaningful difference between CBT-SAD and light therapy.

Moreover, the remission status was not statistically different between these two therapies (Rohan et al., 2015). The only differences revealed between the outcomes of treatments were in post-treatment depression scores and the proportions in remission. Another observation is that patients who had any comorbid diagnosis in addition to SAD demonstrated less progress in overcoming a depressive condition after the 6-week treatment than those without comorbidities. The effectiveness of light therapy is supported by other studies (Melrose, 2015). Moreover, it is considered to have less severe adverse effects than antidepressant treatment.

Although frequently resulting in adverse effects, the use of antidepressant medications is another alternative treatment for SAD (Melrose, 2015). As a rule, second-generation antidepressants are prescribed since SAD is considered to be a consequence of serotonin activity dysfunction. Some investigations, for example, by Cheung, Qamar, and Del Medico (as cited in Melrose, 2015, p, 3), provide evidence that such antidepressant as fluoxetine is as well tolerated by patients as light therapy and is effective.


On the whole, the seasonal affective disorder is preventable. In case it is correctly diagnosed and the symptoms are revealed timely, preventive measures, such as light therapy, can be applied. However, even is not prevented, there is a choice of therapies able to improve the depressive condition and reduce unpleasant symptoms of SAD. For example, light therapy is used as the least invasive method with a minimum of adverse effects. Also, cognitive-based therapy is applicable for SAD, and it is as effective as light therapy. Finally, antidepressant treatment is possible, which is as well leads to more adverse effects.


Melrose, S. (2015). . Depression Research and Treatment, 2015, article 178564, 1-6. Web.

Nussbaumer, B., Kaminski-Hartenthaler, A., Fornesis, C., Morgan, L., Sonis, J., Gaynes, B., … Gartlehner, G. (2015). Light therapy for preventing seasonal affective disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 11, article CD011269, 1-53. Web.

Rohan, K., Mahon, J., Evans, M., Ho, S., Meyerhoff, J., Postolache, T., & Vacek, P. (2015). . American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(9), 862-869. Web.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with Online Academic Experts
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business and administrative studies
awesome work
Customer 453201, June 15th, 2022
Social Work and Human Services
Although it took 2 revisions I am satisfied but I did receive it late because of that.
Customer 452603, March 25th, 2021
The writer was timely and proficient. I had to ask for a revision, but I got it back quickly with no other issues. Would use this essay writing service again
Customer 452441, November 14th, 2021
Health Care
awesome work
Customer 452777, October 14th, 2021
Love this writer!!! Great work
Customer 452597, April 5th, 2021
Social Work and Human Services
Great work I would love to continue working with this writer thought out the 11 week course.
Customer 452667, May 30th, 2021
Usually, references need to be within the past 5 years. Thank you :)
Customer 452547, July 16th, 2021
Business Studies
Thank you so much! I had to take my dog to the ER and had no time for the assignment. I really appreciate your help! I can't thank you enough! I really appreciate the work and integrity put into it. Thank you for taking it seriously and not bullshiting the paper.
Customer 452815, July 26th, 2021
It was gotten well after time I needed to make needed additions, but it is something that did help me. I could not get the concept of ho to start such a project but now reading this, I was over thinking the project it seems.
Customer 452801, July 19th, 2021
Received before the deadline. Great job!
Customer 453027, January 15th, 2022
Human Resources Management (HRM)
Very well written and very impressed with this service!
Customer 453077, February 16th, 2022
Customer 452591, March 18th, 2021
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Live ChatWhatsApp