As winter settles in, the sky clouds over, blocking out the sun. There is less light, and the days are shorter resulting in a chill that is tough to escape. In areas where there is a lot of snow and ice, people could find themselves confined to their homes for prolonged periods.

The gloominess, lack of light, cold, and isolation can all combine and cause some people to feel a little melancholy or depressed.

What are the Winter Blues?

There have been studies that look at this type of seasonal sadness. While scientists admit that they still have a lot to learn, current research does offer promising findings. The good news is they have identified possible causes of the winter blues resulting in effective treatments.

While the term “winter blues” is not an official medical diagnosis, it is still used often within the medical community. The issue is common and tends to lean to the milder side, clearing up quickly with little or no medical intervention. Typically, it is linked to a specific issue such as the stress of the holiday season or remembering loved ones that have passed on.

During a season that places a heavy emphasis on family and friends, grieving a lost loved one, or missing them, can have an impact. Loneliness can also contribute to this feeling.

Are Winter Blues the Same as Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is not the same as the winter blues. It is more severe, more debilitating, and is a formal clinical diagnosis that is well-defined and documented. The condition is related to the shorter daylight hours in the winter months.

SAD is a type of major depression that interferes with a person’s ability to function in even daily tasks, and it can last for a significant length of time.

One of the hallmark features of SAD is its very predictable, consistent pattern. Each year it appears when the seasons change, and the days become shorter, while the skies get darker and more overcast. Several months later, around spring or summer with brighter skies and longer days, SAD goes away.

What can You do to Get Out of the Winter Blues Funk?

Several treatments can help you break out of the winter blues and even ease the effects of SAD. Medications can help, but many people hesitate to use them because of the side effects.

Lightboxes are often very effective, as is increasing indoor lighting.

In a clinical setting, many people forego the pharmaceuticals and opt for something a little more scientific – neurofeedback therapy.

Neurofeedback is a natural approach to managing many conditions that are related to mood and brain function. It is a non-invasive, pain-free, and drug-free approach to managing many types of depression-related symptoms, including SAD and the winter blues.

In short, it rewires the brain, so it functions in a healthier way. It requires 60-80 sessions to achieve optimal results, but patients might start noticing changes after the first few sessions. It is giving many patients who struggle with symptoms related to depression, ADHD, anxiety, seizures, chronic pain, and other conditions a new lease on life.

If you are suffering from winter blues or SAD and want to see if neurofeedback is right for you, give us a call.

Isn’t it time you were free from the symptoms of depression? We’re here to help.

*Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback does not diagnose medical conditions. Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback is a nonmedical, medication-free program for children and adults who struggle with symptoms related to mental health.