Winter Blues (SAD) Prevention and Treatment

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Photo courtesy of

Treatments for Winter Blues.

For some people, the Winter Blues is a mild transitory issue. You miss someone who is not there or you wish something were other than it is. But for some people, this becomes a severe emotional problem.

The Winter Blues sometimes is called Seasonal Affective Disorder or more precisely it is Major Depressive Disorder with seasonal features, a diagnosable mental illness.

There are a handful of treatments and the one that is right for you should be chosen in consultation with your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist. Each treatment has its advantages and its limitations.

Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder.

One group of theories about winter blues has its cause as a reduction in the amount of sunlight that occurs during the winter. More light, so the thought goes, and you should be less depressed. The cause could be just the amount of light but it can also be changes in the way your body reacts to the light level so some people are way more sensitive to changes in light levels, light intensity, and the amount of sleep they get.

Just leaving on a few lights in the early morning or evening may help a few people but most light therapy involves special lights of high intensity which are close in color and intensity to normal daylight.

The drawbacks to light therapy, above and beyond the cost of special lights, are that to be effective you may need to devote a lot of time on a very regular basis to sitting in these lights. Most often this is done first thing in the morning.

If this works for you, and remember it does not work for everyone, the results will fade in 3 to 5 days if you stop sitting under the lights. Once you start light therapy plan on continuing it until the winter season is over.

Medication seasonal depression.

Some people react well and quickly to antidepressants. Not everyone gets the same benefits from the same meds. You need to work with your doctor on this and start early, take the meds as prescribed and keep them up until any chance of a relapse of your depression is passed.

Therapy can reduce seasonal depression.

People with seasonal features to their depression, Winter Blues, in particular, are prone to the same sort of thinking errors that people with other kinds of depression experience. Therapy to correct negative or unhelpful thinking can reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Self-care reduces the impact of seasonal affective disorder.

More exercise, better diet, and being around a positive support system can help you avoid or reduce the symptoms of the Winter Blues. Relapse from this condition, like recovery from most issues, requires a program of relapse prevention that includes management of internal triggers like sleep, hunger, and emotions as well as management of your contact with outside things such as people and places. Work on staying healthy and being around healthy supportive people.

Combination Therapy

Any or all of the treatments above can be combined. Medication is most often combined with therapy and self-care. Having a strong support system is especially important if you experience Winter Blues.

If you are sad, down, or depressed this Holiday season, whether it is because of Winter Blues or some other reason, please take good care of yourself and reach out for help when you need it.

For more about SAD and the risk factors involved take a look at the post

Sad – Risk factors. 

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

2 thoughts on “Winter Blues (SAD) Prevention and Treatment

  1. Pingback: Winter Blues (SAD) Risk Factors | counselorssoapbox

  2. Pingback: What is the difference between Melancholy and Atypical Depression? | counselorssoapbox

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.