Seasonal Affective Disorder
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
It’s the time of the year where the days get shorter and the air gets colder. We are pulling out our “winter clothes” boxes and boots to prepare for the coming months. For many, the thoughts of drinking hot chocolate, carving pumpkins, holiday decorating, and gathering with family begins to appear. For others, the thought of preparing for their least favorite season emerges.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. SAD is not just disliking winter, it is a form of depression that comes around seasonally, typically when there is less sunlight.
SAD symptoms can include those that are similar to major depression, such as:
· Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
· Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
· Changes in appetite - usually eating more, craving carbohydrates
· Change in sleep - usually sleeping too much
· Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours
· Feeling worthless or guilty
· Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
· Thoughts of death or suicide
For those struggling with SAD, there are ways in which these symptoms can be combatted. Physical exercise, changes to daily routines, and psychotherapy have all been linked to improvement of SAD related symptoms. Exercise is a natural way to boost mood. Eating well and having a bedtime routine also helps our bodies maintain balance and fight against negative effects of seasonal changes. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is type of psychotherapy that is effective for SAD. CBT for SAD uses techniques such as identifying negative thoughts surrounding seasonal changes and replacing them with more positive thoughts. Utilizing these techniques and creating a structured routine may be successful for some individuals who experience SAD. For those with worsening symptoms, professional help may be needed. It is important to remember that it is okay to not be okay.
If you are suffering from SAD, you are not alone. Recognizing the symptoms of SAD is the first step to overcoming it. We, at Quintessential Health are here to help and listen. For more information on the services we provide to help combat SAD, please visit us at www.qhealthoneline.com or call us at 1-833-QHCARES.