Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. Usually, the symptoms start in the autumn and can continue into the winter months. The signs of SAD include those linked with major depression. Note that not every person experiences all of the symptoms.
Symptoms of major SAD may include:
Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
Experiencing changes in appetite or weight
Having problems with sleep and difficulty concentrating
Having low energy, over sleeping
Feeling hopeless or worthless
Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Overeating which often leads to weight gain
How can you help yourself or others?
It might seem that you have the ‘’winter blues’’ but don’t brush it off as a yearly feeling that you can solve on your own. Winter-onset SAD is thought to be linked to the shorter daylight hours, as well as darker days, while summer-onset SAD is linked to longer daylight hours and brighter days. Our bodies respond to sunlight by changing hormonal and neurotransmitter levels and so these seasonal changes can lead to chemical imbalances. As such, treatment of winter-onset SAD is often centered on increasing exposure to sunlight including:
Going for a walk during the day
Arranging your home and work space to maximize sunlight
Using specially designed lamps that work to alleviate symptoms of SAD by mimicking sunlight with very bright lights
Treatment – How to get help?
Therapy, a supportive environment and oftentimes, medication are the most common ways to treat it. If you, or your loved one experience the above symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can guide you to the right support and services.