Dr. Alexander Salerno, the second-generation lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, upholds a personal and professional dedication to caring for underserved members of the community. Dr. Alexander Salerno strives to ensure that all patients have access to primary care for medical and mental health issues, including seasonal affective disorder.
As its name suggests, seasonal affective disorder causes mood disturbances that correlate with the cycle of the yearly seasons. Most people with the condition experience symptoms during the fall and winter months, when periods of daylight are shorter, though some clients report that they experience depressive symptoms in the summer months instead. Regardless of time of onset, patients typically present with the expected signs of clinical depression, such as feelings of hopelessness and a lack of interest in their usual activities.
Because diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder is based solely on patient self-reports, physicians must be careful to rule out similar-seeming illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and underactive thyroid before confirming a diagnosis. Patients who do receive a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder often find relief with light therapy, in which they sit near a lightbox that emits a particular fluorescent light that mimics natural sunlight. Medication may also be helpful to certain patients in managing depressive symptoms, while psychotherapy can provide additional resources for redirecting negative thoughts and developing adaptive coping skills.