Seasonal Affective Disorder
Can you feel it? the days are shorter. The sunlight is slipping away. Getting out of bed in the morning is harder than usual, and you barely have the energy to get through your normal routine. You’re unmotivated, you feel irritable, and inexplicably sad. Could it be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
What is SAD?
Seasonal Depression, as the name suggests is a form of depression that occurs seasonally. While those who live in areas with prolonged or intense winters may be more susceptible to experiencing SAD, the reality is it can affect anyone in any climate. Women report higher rates of seasonal depression than do men, and it often begins to present in early adult hood. Like other forms of depression, it affects some people in mild forms, while for others it can be debilitating.
Signs and symptoms of Seasonal Depression:
loss of interest in normal activities
Drastic changes in appetite, energy level and sleep patterns
feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt
loss of motivation
intense loneliness or feelings of isolation
How to manage Seasonal Depression
One of the most common treatment options for SAD is light therapy. While the consensus is still out on what exactly causes SAD, one contributing factor may be the lack of direct sunlight exposure. If you are experiencing mild to moderate SAD, investing in a bright light lamp may be all that’s needed to improve your mood. Other lifestyle factors such as regular exercise routine, a healthy diet, and maintaining regular social contact are important factors for regulating mood. If you find that these tips are not enough to manage your seasonal depression, it may be time to reach out to a professional. Therapy services can help you to gain insight into what is impacting your low mood, and provide you with effect ways to cope.