Have you ever found yourself feeling blue or struggling to feel happy when the sun isn’t shining?
You may be suffering from a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is very common and it is estimated that 3 million Americans suffer from it every year.
What Exactly Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
SAD often occurs in the winter and autumn and is often considered a form of depression. It is caused by low levels of serotonin, melatonin, and a disrupted circadian rhythm.
Symptoms, as written by the Mayo Clinic:
- Experiencing a depressed feeling
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Who Is Most Susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Risk factors include:
- Gender – Women are more susceptible than men
- Location – Those who live far away from the equator and therefore have limited access sunlight
- Predisposition – If you’ve been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder, you’re more likely to experience SAD.
What Can Be Done to Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
If you’re experiencing SAD symptoms, the good news is there is something you can do.
- Talk to your doctor
- Consider prescribed medications
- Consider light therapy
- Manage stress
- Talk to a counselor
- Create positive habits
- Get out of the house and spend time with loved ones
- Get exercise and eat properly