Some people experience a depressive episode in different seasons and it keeps on changing. Today, we’ll discuss what is seasonal affective disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a form of depression that is relevant to the changing season; it starts and ends at the same time period annually. Most people with the SAD condition, start exhibiting symptoms in the falls and remain the same in the winter months, it decreases your energy and makes you feel moody. The symptoms would get better in the months of spring and summer.
Some people with the SAD condition, exhibit the symptoms of depressive episodes in the months of spring and summer, and they get better in the months of fall and winter. If you experience “winter blues” and “funky” feelings in certain seasons, then you shouldn’t be too tough on yourself and brush it off like a seasonal thing. You should step back and think that your motivation and mood should remain the same throughout the year.
According to an estimate, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) impacts roundabout 11 million people in the USA annually. Approximately 25 million people experience the milder episode and it goes by the name of winter blues.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder among most people start in the fall and early winter, and they get better in the spring and summer. Less commonly, it follows the opposite pattern among some people, the symptoms start appearing in the spring and summer. The symptoms are mild and they become severe as the season progresses. Some of the main symptoms of SAD are as follows;
- Thinking of not wanting to live
- Guilty, worthless, and hopeless feelings
- Concentration and focusing difficulty
- Weight gaining, overeating, and carbohydrates craving
- The problem of sleeping too much
- Sluggish and lower energy feelings
- Not showing interest in the activities that you used to love
- Down, sad, and listless feelings on most days
Fall & Winter SAD
Some of the main symptoms of winter depression or winter onset SAP are as follows;
- Lower energy and tiredness
- Weight gaining
- Craving for high carbohydrates food and changes in appetite
Spring & Summer SAD
Some of the main symptoms of summer depression or summer-onset-SAP are as follows;
- High irritability
- Anxiety and agitation
- Losing weight
- Poor appetite
- Insomnia and sleeping difficulty
Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Researchers don’t know the exact cause of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Some of the main causes of SAD are as follows;
The lower sunlight level in the fall and winter would probably cause the winter-onset SAP. The lower sunlight would disturb the internal clock of your body, and it leads you toward depression feelings.
Serotonin is a brain chemical like a neurotransmitter that impacts your mood. It plays a significant role in SAD. The lower sunlight would reduce the serotonin level, and it would trigger depression.
The changing season disturbs the melatonin balance of your body, and it plays a significant role in your mood and sleeping pattern.
The diagnosis of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is more common among women than men. It frequently happens in younger adults than older adults. However, some of the risk factors that would amplify the probability of SAD are as follows;
Lower Vitamin D Level
When the skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D, and vitamin D improves the serotonin level. When you don’t get vitamin D from sunlight and other sources, then it decreases the vitamin D level in your body.
Far from the Equator
For people living far away from the south or north equator, SAD is more common among them. It is because of the lower sunlight in the winter and long days in the summer.
MDD or BPD
The symptoms of SAD would aggravate if you have bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.
You’re more likely to develop this condition if you have got family ties with a person that has depression or SAD.
Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder
The treatment plan for SAD depends on the severity of symptoms, and it also relies on other factors whether you have bipolar disorder or major depression. Some of the things that your doctor would recommend are as follows;
- Antidepressant medicines like Bupropion XL
- Getting natural light early in the morning
- Phototherapy or light therapy
A full bright light roundabout is 20 times brighter than the normal light, you have to sit 2 feet away from it, and it would indirectly to your eyes. The therapy session comprises 10 to 15 minutes per day, and you can stretch the time duration to 30 and 45 minutes. You won’t have to look directly at the light source, it would damage your eyes.
Conclusion: What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
After an in-depth study of what is seasonal affective disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we’ve realized that SAD badly impacts your life in different seasons. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should follow and practice the above-mentioned tips.
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