Seasonal Affective Disorder and Overdose

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is caused by decreased sunlight in the fall and winter. Affected individuals begin to experience the potentially severe symptoms of this major depressive condition as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer. The symptoms can be very serious including the following:

  • Constant lethargy or sleepiness
  • Overeating
  • Inability to feel happy or positive or to take pleasure in anything
  • Withdrawal from family and loved ones
  • Decreased concentration or performance at work or school
  • Temper management problems

Many people are unaware of their condition, assuming they are just feeling down. However, if left untreated SAD can result in serious depression and even suicide.

Self-Medicating Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is tragically common for individuals struggling with SAD to self-medicate their symptoms with drugs or alcohol. These substances provide short-term relief, which the brain will crave very powerfully. These cravings happen on a level that is much stronger than rational thought or will.

To further complicate matter, the body develops a tolerance to alcohol and drugs relatively quickly. This means that the individual will need larger and more frequent quantities in order to feel the desired effects. Eventually, users will need a constant supply just to feel something close to normal, even while the relief the substances once offered fades away. In their desperation for relief, many SAD patients combine drugs or will mix them with alcohol to intensify the effects. It is not uncommon for this kind of addictive behavior to lead to accidental, or even intentional, overdose.

Preventing Overdose Associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder

As with all forms of major depression, successful SAD treatment requires comprehensive, holistic treatment of all aspects of the individual’s disease. Patients must treat the following aspects:

  • The underlying depression
  • The chemical dependency
  • Any other co-occurring mental disorders

This type of integrated treatment is not offered by all recovery programs, but the most successful develop customized treatment plans for each individual patient. These programs are likely to include some combination of the following therapies:

  • Individual counseling
  • Medically supervised detox (to relieve withdrawal and assure safety)
  • Support group meetings
  • Spiritual and emotional care
  • Empowering education

Progressive, results-based counseling therapies such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy have been proven highly effective at treating those with SAD.

Help for Seasonal Affective Disorder and Drug Abuse

If you, or someone you love, is experience the misery of Seasonal Affective Disorder and have turned to substance abuse as a coping mechanism, please call our toll-free helpline as soon as possible. Our counselors are standing by 24 hours a day and are eager to answer your questions about SAD and overdose prevention. You can be free of both chemical dependency and depression with the right help. We are here to connect you with that help as soon as possible. We can even help confirm insurance coverage and can help you with transportation concerns. SAD is serious. Don’t continue your suffering. Call today.