When winter days become longer and greyer, and your mood turns down a notch, it could be more than just the ‘winter blues’. The persistent feeling of sadness that comes with the cold season could be caused by something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a type of depression that affects people differently during different times of the year—most commonly during the winter months. While the exact cause of SAD is unknown, there are some key factors thought to contribute to its onset. If you’re feeling like something isn’t right with your emotions during a certain time of year, it could be time to learn more about SAD.
Let me walk you through all you need to know about SAD. From how it affects us to how it can be managed and treated. I’ll cover all aspects so you can understand what it means to live with Seasonal Affective Disorder. By the way, Jaynike is the best place to visit when it comes to buying Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook likes and followers!
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
If you’re like most people, your mood changes with the seasons. But for some, the change in seasons brings a more serious condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in the seasons, usually occurring in late fall and winter. With this form of depression, people feel sadder and more lethargic than usual, losing interest in activities they normally enjoy. Other common symptoms include oversleeping and weight gain due to cravings for high-carbohydrate, starchy foods.
While it’s not completely understood why SAD occurs, it is thought to be related to the lack of daylight during winter months. Reduced sunlight can affect hormones, such as melatonin and serotonin, which have an impact on mood. This explains why SAD is much more common in countries further away from the equator.
Causes of SAD
You may be wondering what the causes of SAD are, and the truth is that they’re not entirely clear. Some scientists think it’s linked to changes in the amount of sunlight during different seasons; in particular, having less sunlight during winter months can affect your body’s natural biorhythms or circadian rhythms.
Other theories suggest that SAD may be caused by low levels of serotonin—the neurotransmitter responsible for maintaining mood balance—or an over-sensitivity to changes in seasonality. It’s also believed that your genetic makeup may make you more prone to experiencing SAD.
Whatever the root cause, it’s crucial to remember that SAD is a serious condition, and one that requires medical attention if symptoms occur. It’s important not to self-diagnose, as there could be other factors at play causing your symptoms. To properly assess whether you have SAD and figure out a management plan, it’s best to speak to your doctor or mental health professional.
Symptoms of SAD
Now that you know what Seasonal Affective Disorder is, let’s take a look at the symptoms.
SAD typically follows a pattern and seasonality is one of the key features. Symptoms tend to develop in the late fall or winter and persist until early spring or summer. The most common symptoms of SAD include:
- Feelings of depression
- Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
- Sleep problems, such as sleeping too much or having difficulty falling asleep
- Low energy levels or fatigue
- Appetite changes, such as craving carbohydrates
- Difficulty concentrating
- Social withdrawal
It’s important to note that not everyone with SAD will experience all of these symptoms and their severity can vary from person to person. If you suspect that you or someone else is struggling with SAD, it is recommended to speak with a mental health professional for a full evaluation and proper diagnosis.
Treatment for SAD
If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, you may be wondering what your treatment options are for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Generally speaking, it’s best to try and treat SAD with a combination of lifestyle changes and/or therapy.
The most common form of treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder is light exposure therapy. You can get this type of therapy in the form of light boxes, which are designed to give off artificial light at specific levels to mimic the effects of natural sunlight. This type of light box is often used in combination with psychotherapy.
Exercise & Diet
Exercise can be a great way to help treat SAD, as it releases endorphins that can elevate your mood. It’s also important to focus on eating a nutritious diet that’s full of essential vitamins and minerals, as this can help increase your energy levels and mental well-being.
Mental Health Therapy
Mental health therapy can also be an effective component in treating SAD. Working with a qualified therapist or counselors may help you work through some of the more rooted issues that are causing the SAD symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Training, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) can all be beneficial treatments for those dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
In conclusion, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression where symptoms occur consistently during a certain season. Common symptoms include difficulty focusing, overeating, loss of interest in activities, and decreased energy. It can be caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight during the winter months, but is also thought to be caused by melatonin and serotonin levels.
Although symptoms can be severe and make day-to-day activities difficult, SAD is highly treatable with medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and light therapy. If you believe you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s important to talk to your doctor to discuss diagnosis and treatment.