Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Ketamine Therapy |What is Seasonal Affective Disorder | Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder | Northern Virginia Ketamine Infusion Center 22306

NOVA Health Recovery – Ketamine Treatment Provider in Northern Virginia

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Seasonal affective disorder  (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs annually at the same time each year. 4-6% of the population suffers from this disorder. Symptoms include: 

  • Low Mood 
  • Loss of Interest in activities you enjoyed 
  • Altered sleeping pattern: oversleeping or insomnia 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Altered weight – excessive weight gain or loss 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Cravings for carbohydrates 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Anxiety 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Social withdrawal 

SAD is frequently known as ‘Winter Depression’ because many have worsening recurrent symptoms at this time of the year. Symptoms of winter-onset SAD are different than spring/summer SAD. 

Winter SAD symptoms include: 

  • Increased appetite (Carbohydrate cravings) 
  • Weight Gain 
  • Oversleeping 
  • Lack of Energy 

Summer SAD symptoms include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Lack of sleep 
  • Weight Loss  
  • Poor appetite 

Causes of SAD include a disrupted circadian clock system, reduced serotonin levels in the brainand altered melatonin production. 

Circadian clock disruption results in circadian rhythms becoming out of sync with the sleep/wake system. This leads to mood and behavior issues. 

Altered melatonin metabolism  is seen in SAD, whereby patients with SAD produce more melatonin, the sleep hormone,  especially in the winter, resulting in fatigue and lethargy. 

Serotonin (5-HT)  regulates mood, sleep, food intake, and emotions, and is lower in patients with SAD, especially in the wintertime. Patients with this problem will consume excess carbohydrates to raise serotonin levels. SSRI’s and light therapy raise serotonin levels to improve mood in SAD. Alterations in the gene, 5HTR2A (rs731779) GG phenotype have a 6-fold higher depression risk from SAD, 

These systems are interconnected as the circadian disruption alters serotonin and melatonin metabolism resulting in SAD.  

Genetics of SAD and your Clock Genes: 

During your wake/sleep cycle, the clock genes are switched on and off. Alterations in genes, called SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms) cause the genes to function improperly under certain conditions. The genes involved in the circadian rhythm include PER1, PER2, PER3, CRY1, CRY2, CLOCK, NPAS2, and ARNTL. PER3 variants can cause a shortening of the sleep cycle and produce SAD. The clock genes also interconnect with other networks in the brain that regulate mood and other neurotransmitters, for example, PER2 can alter MAOI activity, which is involved in degrading serotonin and other transmitters. In fact, PER2, ARNTL, and npas2  are associated with Seasonal affective disorder. The OPN4 gene is also associated with SAD. OPN4 is the melanopsin gene and signals  that it is ‘daytime’ to the master clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Finally, alterations in the ZBTB20 gene  results in a 1.6 times higher incidence of SAD due to changes in the circadin clock. 


  • See your regular doctor for consultation and lab work. Get your thyroid checked, along with Inflammation markers, thyroid hormone, CRP, Vitamin D levels, rbc zinc, magnesium, HgbA1C, kidney and liver enzymes. 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (see your psychiatrist or psychologist) 
  • Consider starting SSRI’s (Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors)  
  • Get a SAD light (10000 lux)  
  • Consider adding supplements such as zinc, magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 fatty acids to help support neurotransmitters and enzymes for better mental health. 
  • Add St. John’s Wort and Saffron as antidepressant agents 
  • Consider Ketamine therapy – 

Ketamine  is a rapid acting antidepressant that has over 70% success in treatment resistant depression. It is given as a series of infusions, each lasting 40-50 minutes. It is safe and efficacious. Call NOVA Health Recovery today for more information or to schedule. This therapy can be added to traditional medications to speed up their effectiveness. Ketamine allows for neuroplasticity and synapse formation to result in antidepressant effects within days. We offer follow-through intranasal ketamine therapy or ketamine troches for maintenance therapy at home. The effects of ketamine can last weeks to months, but some will require maintenance infusions monthly or every so often. Ketamine can also help improve the cognitive deficits that frequently accompany depression, bipolar, and mood disorders. At NOVA Health Recovery, we monitor cognitive health through online testing with Cambridge Neurosciences.  

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NOVA Health Recovery is a Northern Virginia Ketamine Treatment Provider that offers ketamine IV therapies, NAD+ infusions , and IV Vitamin infusions in Alexandria, Fairfax Virginia, Mclean Virginia, Arlington Virginia, Springfield Virginia, Reston, Virginia, Maryland, Prince William Virginia, Loudoun County Virginia, Great Falls Virginia, and Northern Virginia,

Local Zip codes We Serve:

Fairfax: MClean 22101  22102

Great Falls 22066

Oakton 22124

Middleburg 20117

Arlington 22207 22213 22209 22207 22202 22203 22206 22201 22202

Fairfax Station 22039

Loudoun County : Waterford 20197 | Sterling 20166 | Leesburgh 20176 | Upperville 20104

Fairfax: 22030 22031 22042 (Falls Church) 220171 (Herndon) 20194 (Reston)  22079 (Lorton) 22150 (Springfield ) 20120 (Centerville)  22039 (Fairfax Station) 22027 (Dunn Loring) 20124  ( Clifton) 22046 (Falls Church)   22060 22003

Ashburn 20148

Prince William County Woodbridge 22191 | Manassas 20110

Alexandria 22308  22314  22301  22310 22305 22311 22303 22306 22307 22308 22309 22310 22312 22315

Vienna 22180  22181  22182

Delaplane 20144

Falls Church 22046

Springfield 22150  22151 22152  22153

Vienna 22180  22181  22182

Burke 22015  22031 22030 22034 22035  22036

Annandale 22003

Mclean Virginia 22101, 22043, 22045, 22107, 22108, 22109

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