Everything You Need to Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

As winter looms, with colder temperatures hang in the air as the sun rises right now, the feeling of an impending, never-ending winter is upon us. This is the time of year that people start to slip into what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a depression brought on by the changing of seasons.

To make matters worse, in just a few weeks, we’ll turn our clocks back here in the U.S., which means the sun will set before most of us are able to leave work. It’s certainly not easy weather changes for everyone to endure, which is I wanted to talk about SAD today.

What is SAD?

SAD is a type of depression that’s related to the changes in seasons. If you’re someone with SAD, you will feel your symptoms start to flare in October, as it gets worse throughout the winter. If you suffer from intense SAD, you will even feel this depression in the springtime.

What Are SAD Symptoms?

So what exactly are those symptoms I am referring to?  The Mayo Clinic defines SAD symptoms as the following:

  • Feeling depressed almost every day, or at least some portion of the day
  • Feeling fatigued and tired
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Noticing changes in weight or appetite
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having thoughts about death

As you can see, SAD is nothing to take lightly. If you think you are someone that suffers from the “winter blues,” know that you are not alone. According to this study, 10 million Americans are living with SAD right now. Additionally, of those with SAD, nearly 60 to 90% of them are women. Women are much more likely to be affected by seasonal changes in relation to their mood and overall happiness than men.

Therefore, if you are a woman and you are noticing changes in your mood and happiness levels with the impending winter, don’t just tell yourself to “get over it.” Treat SAD like you would any other mental disorder, and seek out professional help, as well as personal support, as you prepare for the winter months.

Is There a Treatment for SAD?

Since studies have concluded that SAD is most primarily related to light exposure, as opposed to temperatures and weather patterns, light therapy has been touted as a treatment for those with SAD. Studies have shown that those with SAD experience a 50-80% remission after using light therapy regularly.

Additionally, if possible, travel to places with more light exposure during these winter months, as well as create more light-flow into your apartment or living quarters.

It is certainly possible to beat seasonal depression. The first step is acknowledging it’s happening. After that, there are solutions available to you. Don’t feel you have to do this alone!

Keywords

SAD

Seasonal effective disorder

Lack of Sun light

Seasonal depression

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-things-you-dont-know-about-seasonal-affective-disorder

https://healthmatters.nyp.org/what-to-know-about-seasonal-affective-disorder

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