What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder, sometimes referred to as “SAD”, has become a common diagnosis for the “winter blues”. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression or depressive disorder. Depression has become an increasingly serious condition for individuals of all ages. Feeling sad, or what we may call “depressed”, happens to all of us. The sensation usually passes after a while. However, a person with a depressive disorder, or what is called clinical depression, finds that their depression interferes with their daily life. Normal functioning is undermined to such an extent that the individual and ones around them or who care about them are affected by it. Seasonal Affective Disorder has become a very common form of depression and can interfere with the activities of daily life for those that suffer from it.
How do I know if I am suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder?
A person who develops a depressive illness during the winter months might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. One way of determining if an individual may have Seasonal Affective Disorder is if the symptoms repeated appear during the winter months when there is fewer daylight hours, but go away during spring and/or summer. Treatment for seasonal affective disorder can include light therapy, which is affective for about half of all individuals affected by seasonal affective disorder. In addition, some individuals may need antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both. It is important to seek medical attention and treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder to prevent the depression from turning into a more serious form of depression.
What are the treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder?
A common form of depression during the winter months when the daylight hours are shorter is Seasonal Affective Disorder (“SAD”). Seasonal affective disorder is also much more common the further from the equator you go. A person who develops a depressive illness during the winter months might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. The symptoms go away during spring and/or summer. Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder can include light therapy, which is affective for about half of all individuals affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. In addition, some individuals may need antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both. It is important to seek medical attention and treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder to prevent the depression from turning into a more serious form of depression.
What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder sometimes includes many more symptoms than just feeling “down in the dumps” or feeling like you are in a bad mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder can include physical, as well as mental symptoms. Specifically, according to the Mayo Clinic, if you have suffered from from three or more or the following symptoms for at least two winters, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder:
- Change in appetite or weight
- Sleep problems
- Lack of energy
- Decreased sex drive
- Body aches or pains
- Memory loss
- Inability to make decisions
- Problems concentrating
- Feeling worthlessness or guilt
- Lack of interest in or enjoyment of activities
- Suicidal thoughts
Does Medicare cover diagnosis and treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder or other depressive disorders?
If you are concerned about the costs of treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of depression, original Medicare has always covered treatment of mental illness. However, based upon recent studies that have revealed that 1 in 6 Americans older than age 65 has depression, original Medicare started covering preventive screenings for depression in January 1, 2012.
While original Medicare does pay for treatment of depressive disorders, the Medicare beneficiary will be responsible for the cost-sharing associated with original Medicare Part A and Part B. Typically treatment of a depressive disorder such as Seasonal Affective Disorder is done on an outpatient basis and is covered under original Medicare Part B; however, the Medicare beneficiary will be responsible for 20% of the costs of treatment. Additionally, if prescribed medications, if the Medicare beneficiary does not have a Prescription Drug Plan (also known as “Part D”) then he or she will be responsible for the full costs of the medication. It is important that the Medicare beneficiary seek treatment for depressive disorders; however, it is also important that the Medicare beneficiary have the most appropriate and most affordable Medicare insurance to assist with the cost-sharing that original Medicare leaves them responsible for payment. Contact Medicare Pathways to discuss your Medicare insurance options. Medicare Pathways specializes in Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans. A Medicare Pathways Benefit Advisor will review your situation and make a recommendation of a Medicare insurance plan based on the Medicare beneficiary’s insurance needs and financial situation. You can call 1-866-466-9118 to speak with a Benefit Advisor or you can Request a Quote and a Benefit Advisor will contact you.
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