5 Home Remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder


Take a Vacation

SAD rarely affects people living within about 30 degrees of the Equator.
SAD rarely affects people living within about 30 degrees of the Equator.

If possible, move to a sunnier climate. Most people can't just get up and relocate. But for those who can, moving to a sunnier area helps SAD symptoms disappear. Indeed, SAD rarely affects people living within about 30 degrees of the equator. Otherwise, plan to take a trip during the winter months, whenever possible, to warm and sunny climates.

For most people with SAD, it takes two or three days of bright sunshine to elicit a reversal of symptoms. And, consequently, a tipoff that you may have it is if you find great relief in your symptoms when traveling towa­rd the equator (that's south for folks in the United States).

Whether it's cutting back on caffeine and alcohol or moving to a sunnier place, there are several ways to decrease the effects of SAD. Whatever you do, be sure to seek guidance from a professional if the feelings of depression become overwhelming. If they are not severe, and instead just somewhat of an inconvenience, some of the natural home remedies listed in the next section may provide relief.

For more information and a list of resources, see the links below.

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SAD Resources

  • Your local medical school's department of psychiatry. The school may have researchers who focus on SAD.
  • The American Psychiatric Association, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1825, Arlington, VA 22209 or (www.healthyminds.org).
  • The book The Winter Blues by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. To find out more about his work, go to www.normanrosenthal.com.
  • The Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms (SLTBR). While this is a nationwide professional society for experts in the field, its membership roster includes health professionals that are qualified to do light therapy. Write to SLTBR, 174 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94159, or visit www.sltbr.org.
  • The National Organization for Seasonal Affective Disorder at www.nosad.org.


Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.


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