Seasonal Affective Disorder
The fall and winter months bring with them a lot of excitement for the holidays. However, there is also something much more sinister that can come with this time of year - seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression some people experience annually or multiple times per year. It can be caused by the changing of the season or the anniversary of a tragic or otherwise significant event. While some people can experience seasonal affective disorder in the spring and summer months, most individuals who suffer from this type of depression begin to experience symptoms in autumn that last throughout the winter.
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are similar to those of traditional depression. These symptoms include loss of interest, changes in eating habits (over eating or under eating), changes in sleeping patterns, lack of energy, sluggishness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and persistent feelings of sadness. The shorter days can disrupt your biological clock causing disruptions in your sleeping pattern. The end of daylight savings brings shorter days and longer nights; this change along with the colder weather are some of the major factors that contribute to SAD. People who already have a history of depression are at a higher risk for seasonal affective disorder. The change in season can increase feelings of depression. The anniversary of a tragic event in your life can also trigger a form of seasonal depression and leave you feeling alone and sad even while you’re surrounded by all your friends and family.
Seasonal affective disorder is treatable with the help of a mental health professional. Diagnosis requires a thorough evaluation, and treatment for SAD may include light therapy, medication, talk therapy, or a combination of all of these treatments. Creating more light in your environment can be effective in treating your seasonal depression. You can also incorporate more exercise and outdoor time if your depression is caused by the change in season. If your seasonal depression is caused by the anniversary of a significant event in your life, seeking the help of a mental health professional can help you manage your symptoms when this time of year comes around again.
Do you think you or someone you know suffers from seasonal depression? Contact us