Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Take a positive step for your health and find a good therapist to work with.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a talk-therapy. It’s based on the concept that your perception of a situation has more of an effect on you than the situation itself. Techniques include acceptance, compassion, mindfulness, and positive thinking.

My experience

In my late 20’s I realized that I was stuck in a cycle of bad relationships. I knew I was picking the wrong people to date. But, I didn’t know how to change it, and I needed help. 

Fortunately, I found a therapist who practiced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She helped me identify the cause of my bad relationships. It wasn’t long after starting therapy that I met my husband.

I continued seeing my therapist for several years. With her help, I worked on identifying and changing my thoughts and actions that were harmful. Through therapy, I learned how have better control of my brain, and my happiness.

In 2013, I moved from Southern California to Maine. That’s when seasonal affective disorder kicked in. As a result, I became depressed and fatigued. I gained weight. Shame and sadness threatened to take over.

Rather than give in to negative thoughts, I revisited what I learned in therapy. With the tools of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I found compassion for myself. I changed my focus to learning as much as I could about seasonal mood changes and how to stay healthy.

Research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for SAD

Research on CBT for seasonal depression has found it to be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you become self-sufficient in managing your mood long-term.

CBT teaches you to change the way you think about situations. Over time, changing your thinking can actually alter how your brain works. The science behind this is neuroplasticity. Thoughts create pathways in your brain. Thinking a certain type of thought again and again, like traveling over the same path, makes it easier to travel down the path. You could even create a new path. Over time, paths can become roads, and roads can become highways. We want positive thoughts to travel on highways in our brain. CBT can help make that happen.

Find a therapist

One of the most sage pieces of advice I can give in terms of CBT is to find a therapist who you feel you can work with. It can be tough to find a therapist you’re comfortable with. So, you may have to make appointments with several different people before you find the right fit. Despite this, keep trying. Finding the right therapist is worth the effort!  

Ready to take the first step? Then, take a minute now and find a therapist near you.

For other ways to fight seasonal affective disorder, check out my posts on nutrition and light therapy.

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