Arkansas Blue Cross donations fund organizations supporting those feeling less festive during the holidaysLittle Rock, Ark. (December 12, 2019) — For many people, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can color this festive time of year with sadness – and even thoughts of self-harm. But a pair of donations made today by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield seeks to help Arkansans have a happier, safer holiday season.
Arkansas Blue Cross today donated $5,000 each to the Arkansas chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to help raise awareness about seasonal affective disorder and how people can fight it.
“Seasonal affective disorder affects up to 20 percent of us annually,” said Bert Price, M.D., a psychiatrist and corporate medical director for Arkansas Blue Cross. “But awareness can help prevent it from creating a holiday tragedy. Knowledge of self-care techniques, warning signs and treatment options can literally be a lifesaver.”
SAD symptoms & treatmentSeasonal affective disorder symptoms usually appear as daylight periods shorten in fall/early winter and go away as days become sunnier in spring/summer. The added emotional and physical stressors of the holidays can heighten SAD’s effects. Symptoms often become more severe as the season progresses.
Signs and symptoms of SAD include:
• Persistent depression (feeling depressed most of the time)
• Loss of interest in activities
• Feelings of low energy/sluggishness
• Sleep abnormalities (too little or too much)
• Pronounced appetite or weight changes
• Increased agitation
• Problems with concentration
• Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt
• Frequent thoughts of self-harm, suicide or death
Treatments include traditional psychotherapy and/or antidepressants. Also, light therapy, a daily exposure to simulated high-intensity sunlight, has shown promise in treating SAD. For more information about seasonal affective disorder, talk to your healthcare provider.