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. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and last through the winter, leaving you feeling low on energy and moody. These symptoms usually disappear in spring and summer. Less commonly, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and subsides in the fall or winter.
Don’t think of moods as “winter blues” or seasonal fears you’ll have to deal with yourself. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady year-round.
Symptoms of (SAD)
In most cases, SAD symptoms appear in late fall or early winter and disappear during the sunny days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern will start experiencing symptoms in the spring or summer. In both cases, symptoms start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy and feeling sluggish
- Having problems with sleeping too much
- Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having thoughts of not wanting to live
The Winter Blues
Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy
Depression In The Spring & Summer
Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include:
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Agitation or anxiety
- Increased irritability
The specific cause of this remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:
- Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
- Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
- Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
How to Cope
If signs you’re experiencing align with that of seasonal depression, you can bring in one or two tweaks to your daily routine to help you deal with symptoms and continue to enjoy your life as normally as possible – but only if you feel well enough to do so. These five tips for coping with SAD
Get as much natural light as possible
Exercise outdoors and eat well
Don’t sleep in too late
Be honest with yourself
Counselling In Salisbury for SAD
Counselling in Salisbury or Online for SAD could be very beneficial if you suffer from the disorder!
There is no known way to prevent the development of seasonal affective disorder. However, if you take steps to manage symptoms early on, you may be able to prevent them from getting worse over time. You may be able to prevent serious changes in mood, appetite, and energy levels because you can predict when these symptoms are likely to appear.
Treatment can help prevent complications, especially if SAD is diagnosed and treated before symptoms become severe. Some people find it helpful to start treatment before symptoms usually appear in the fall or winter, and then continue when symptoms usually go away. Others require ongoing treatment to prevent symptoms from recurring.
Again if you need Counselling In Salisbury or help online, please use the contact form below to get in touch.