Working on Season Affective Disorder Starts Now


Yes, it’s summer. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, the sun doesn’t go down until 8:00 PM. Yes, the birds are singing and the mosquitos are buzzing and the Nationals are playing and it’s as humid as all get out. So why would you start worrying about the winter right now?

To be sure, there are some things that can be left for later. You don’t have to go to Home Depot and buy ten pounds of driveway salt (although it’s significantly cheaper now.) You don’t have to put up that weatherproofing on your windows (although it would probably help keep the air-conditioning in and save you money on your cooling bills.) You don’t have to have your winter coats cleaned now (although it would probably save you a lot of time, and you wouldn’t have to go through a few days of freezing while you are waiting for it to come back from the cleaners.)

Actually, you know what? You should do all of those things now. It will save you time and money and make your life easier in the long run. And here’s what else you should do: If you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, start your treatment now.

If you have SAD, we don’t have to explain to you what it is. If you don’t have it, you might recognize it in your friends, family, or loved ones. It’s been called “Winter Blues” and “Winter Depression” for decades, and it’s actually listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. So yes, it’s a real thing.

Shortly after Daylight Savings Time ends, and it starts to get dark around 5 pm, and the only time you really see much of what sun there is in the sky is during your commute to work, and when the sun is actually out it’s hazy and gray, sufferers of SAD start to go through real and significant bouts of depression, with everything terrible that depression brings with it; withdrawal from family and friends, loss of appetite (or sometimes bouts of serious overeating,) loss of sex drive, apathy or feelings of hopelessness, and all the other symptoms that make winter much worse than it has to be.

As many of you who struggle with depression already know, it isn’t something that can be treated overnight. And a problem with treating SAD is that by the time the treatment starts resulting in benefits for the patient, winter is practically over. Patient A comes in to see us in mid-January while in the throes of SAD depression. We start with acupuncture, massage, or Chinese herbs, and by the time Patient A starts to feel like himself again, it’s getting on towards April. We’re certainly glad that we could help, but wouldn’t it have been better to have helped Patient A bypass that bout with SAD in the first place?

If you are a DC resident who routinely suffers from SAD, we highly recommend that you get in to see us now, when it’s still warm outside. We can do a full lab analysis, prepare a diet plan for you, get you started on Chinese herbs and supplements, start acupuncture treatments, and do everything we can to help you either drastically lessen your SAD or even help you avoid it entirely.

Think of it as the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant did the work early and made it through the winter. The grasshopper didn’t. Come see us, ok?