Let’s Talk About Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Do you start to feel low, lose interest in activities you enjoy, or experience a loss of energy during a specific time of the year? You are not alone, it is estimated that 10 million Americans are impacted by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mental health condition brought on by the changing of seasons. This mood disorder can otherwise be known as seasonal depression, the winter blues, or seasonal slump.
Women experience SAD at a significantly higher rate than men, the same goes for individuals who suffer from other mental health conditions. Most individuals who have SAD experience depression symptoms in the fall or winter, while they subside in the spring and summer. A small portion of individuals experiences the opposite with symptoms in the spring and summer that subside in the fall and winter. It is important to keep in mind that you may experience SAD one year but not the next. Other symptoms include cravings for carbohydrates, sadness, loss of appetite, and sleep irregularities.
What causes SAD? The answer to that isn’t quite that simple, there is a good amount of uncertainty; however, there are numerous precipitating factors as to why individuals experience seasonal depression. These factors include genetics, where you live, hours of daylight, and the inability to adjust your circadian rhythms, specifically your sleep/wake schedules.
SAD can significantly impact your life. Common issues that occur are social and financial struggles, strained relationships, weight gain, and self-esteem issues. Even though the symptoms subside with the change of seasons, the impact can be lasting.
How can you treat SAD? Common treatment options for seasonal depression include light therapy, medications, and psychotherapy (talk therapy). These treatment options can be implemented by themselves and in combination with each other.
Innerglow Therapy specializes in psychotherapy offering services to address a variety of mental health issues. The practice and clinicians offer a dedicated space to process thoughts and emotions and work on developing healthy coping skills.
Tips to help you manage:
-Be proactive, if you suffer from seasonal depression, have a plan and seek help early
-Know your support system
-Take care of yourself, eat healthily, stay active, and prioritize sleep
-Increase exposure to sunlight