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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Girl with SADs
Ever feel down, and wasn’t sure of the reason? It may be because of the change in seasons. Yes, that can happen! Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is defined as a type of depression related to changes in the seasons. Symptoms typically beginning in the fall, and lag into winter, eating up all of your energy. Read on to find out more about SAD and how to get help.

SAD Symptoms

Usually, the first signs occur late fall or early winter. When it starts to get sunny in spring and summer, symptoms may subside. Some symptoms may include:

  • All-day depression
  • Lethargic; no energy
  • Insomnia
  • Agitated or sluggish
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Negative feelings; hopeless, guilty, worthless
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • No longer interested in your favorite hobbies or activities

Bipolar Disorder

Usually, those with bipolar disorder experience depression or mania. The time of summer and spring may trigger mania, while winter and fall result in depression.

Causes of SAD

While not all factors are known, some causes of SAD may include:

  • Circadian rhythm: In the fall and winter, less sunlight happens, onsetting depression. A person’s internal clock may be disturbed with this change, resulting in feelings of depression.
  • Melatonin levels: The balance of a person’s melatonin levels may be disrupted due to changes in the season. Serotonin levels: Due to the lack of sunlight, serotonin levels go down. Serotonin is a brain chemical that affects a person’s mood. Depression may occur when serotonin levels are reduced.

Factors That Put You At-Risk

Your gender and age have a lot to do with your risk for SAD. Women are more than likely than men to be diagnosed with SAD. Young adults also are diagnosed with SAD, more so than older adults.
Other factors that may increase the risk of SAD may include:

  • Genetics: Your family history may contribute to getting SAD if it is in the bloodline.
  • Mental illness: Having bipolar disorder or depression may increase the chance of getting SAD.
  • Location: Being in an area where there is little to no sunlight can contribute to SAD. Places far away from the equator with more drastic seasonal changes put a person at-risk.

Problems That May Occur

If SAD is not properly treated when symptoms occur, the following may happen:

  • Problems at school or work; drop in performance
  • Drug abuse
  • Anxiety or eating disorders
  • Suicidal behavior or thoughts
  • Isolation

Have Questions? Ask Us!

The seasonal affective disorder can occur this holiday season to anyone. Do not ignore the symptoms, and find help right away. If you would like to speak to a professional or know more information, contact us today at 781-233-1000