Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs in people – mainly in the winter time, but oftentimes in the fall as well – because the shorter days mess with the body’s internal clock and cause all kinds of havoc. The loss of daylight causes serotonin levels drop, melatonin levels get out of whack and the next thing you know your mood is off the charts, you can’t concentrate and man, what is wrong?
It could be that change is seasons triggered Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but the good thing is it treatable.
Symptoms to Look For
Symptoms of SAD may include a just one, two – or many of the following symptoms. As everyone is different, the symptoms you feel will and their severity will be different as well.
Symptoms of SAD include:
* Feeling depressed during big chunks if not all of the day.
* Feeling lost, worthless or hopeless.
* No or low energy, feeling sluggish.
* Changes in weight or appetite.
* No longer interested in activities that you used to enjoy.
* Feeling irritable or overly emotional.
* Problems sleeping or sleeping too much.
* Lack of focus or difficulty concentrating.
* Frequent thoughts of suicide or death.
If you are feeling any of these symptoms, call your doctor to set up an appointment. If you are having thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, call (United States or Canada) 1-800-273-TALK(8255) , (UK) +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 or visit here.
How To Treat It
SAD can be treated in a variety of ways, all of which your doctor will discuss with you. The most common approaches include combinations of medication, light therapy and counseling.
Light therapy is simply using a light box ( also called bright light therapy boxes and phototherapy boxes) to trick your body into thinking it is getting light from the outdoors. The light box mimics outdoor light. They can be purchased online or in some stored but it’s recommended that you discuss the different options available with your doctor as not all light boxes are created equal and some are not meant to treat SAD.
Many people tend to spend less time outside in the winter months because it’s colder, but spending time outdoors on a regular basis may help alleviate some of the SAD symptoms and also help you get some much recommended exercise even if you just walk around the block. Just make sure to dress for the weather.
If you can’t get outside, it’s still possible to at home, especially if you have a game console such as a WII or Xbox or any of their variations. They all have fitness and dance games that are not only good exercise but fun to do. Also consider giving Yoga and massage therapy a try.
It is also recommended that you keep your home and your workplace as light and bright as possible. Allow natural light in and also use bright paints, curtains and décor to keep the rooms you will be spending time in bright and cheerful.
There are also a few supplements that you can talk to your doctor about that is believed to be beneficial at treating some cases of SAD. These include Melatonin, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, SAMe and St, John’s Wort , some of these haven’t been approved by the FDA to treat depression but are still popular treatments – but as they may interact with medications you may already be taking, always check with your physician first to avoid complications.
Finally, keep in mind that you are not alone as 4% – 6% of all Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The sooner you get treated, the sooner you will be back to feeling like you!