As winter approaches, the days get shorter and nightfall descends earlier. Unfortunately, for millions of people, that image of darkness falling is all too real. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in the season. Most often, it affects people as the amount of daily sunlight is diminished. In fact, SAD is more common in areas further from the equator.
As to the cause, some research points to biological hints. The diminished sunlight can disrupt our body’s circadian rhythm. Further, people suffering from SAD may produce too much melatonin, which regulates sleep and they may produce too little serotonin and Vitamin D, which is associated with symptoms of depression.
According to The Mayo Clinic, symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day
- Having low energy
- Experiencing changes in appetite
- Feeling hopeless
- Having difficulty concentrating
If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit your doctor for a check-up. Treatments for SAD include light therapy, medication and therapy.
Self-help tips include getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet.
Don’t ignore feelings of melancholy and irritability this winter. See your doctor and get yourself on the road to a brighter tomorrow!