What is Seasonal Depression?

Fall is here.

Most people are so excited to break out the sweaters and enjoy the pumpkin spice. Halloween and spooky season has most people overjoyed. The fall weather and rainy days have people cuddling up with a blanket and a movie. It’s a perfect time to get your dose of instagram aesthetic weather. Most people are so happy that fall is here.

But not me.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. According to Mental Health America, about 5% of Americans have seasonal depression, and that 4 out of 5 people are women. SAD normally occurs when a person is in their 20s. Also, the more north that someone is, the greater chance to suffer from SAD.

So what is SAD?

SAD is similar to depression, with symptoms like increased appetite, excessive sleep, and weight gain. Kind of sounds like hibernation, right? On top of that, seasonal depression can cause regular depression, anxiety, mood changes, sleep problems, fatigue, overeating and craving sweets and carbs, and social and sexual problems. Basically, the cold weather makes you want to eat and not go outside. But it is more than that. Your motivation to get up and do things nearly diminishes.

How do people get SAD? (no pun intended)

It is said to be caused by the obvious, lack of sunlight. Sunlight produces serotonin, which makes us happy. Also, melatonin, known to help you sleep, produces more in the dark. So shorter days and longer nights are a tough combination for people with SAD. The weather literally exhausts us.

Get through it with the right resources!

Light therapy has been shown to extremely help with cases of SAD. I have one, it’s called a happy light. I got it at a drugstore, and it was really cheap. For 30 minutes a day you plug it in next to you and it mimics sunlight. Also, there is no shame in having to take an antidepressant for either regular depression or SAD. I mentioned before, SAD is caused by not having enough of a brain chemical, so medication can help fill in the gaps.

There is hope. Recognize the signs and try these therapeutic methods until we see warmer days again!