Note: This article should not be used in place of psychological counseling or a doctor’s diagnosis.
Do you feel depressed during a particular season? Do you no longer feel depressed when the weather changes again? If so, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD is also known as winter depression or seasonal depression. It is a form of depression that may occur in individuals around the same time every year; the season in which one feels depressed may vary. Some may feel more depressed during the summer due to the heat and sun or the winter when it gets dark extremely early.
Who Has It?
While it is possible for anyone to develop SAD, there are groups of people that are more susceptible to being diagnosed. Those who are more susceptible include women, individuals between the ages of 15 and 55, individuals who have relatives with SAD, and lastly people who live in areas where daylight hours are short.
The main cause of SAD is not known. However, some researchers believe that a lack of sunlight can affect one’s biological clock and can upset and negatively impact one’s sleep patterns.
Many people experience certain symptoms when living with SAD. These symptoms include but are not limited to:
-Lack of interest in activities that one used to enjoy
-Eat more and as a result gain weight
-Still tired when sleeping more hours
-Lack of focus/concentration
How it is Diagnosed
If you have the symptoms listed above, then you should seek immediate help. Your doctor may request that you take certain blood tests to verify the disorder and determine whether you have other conditions. Furthermore, your physician might give you a psychological assessment to determine your ability to process information, reason, and accurately remember things.
There are a variety of different treatments one may go through to help with SAD. These treatments include light therapy, medicines such as antidepressants, and counseling, which may be prescribed by a doctor. One may also improve on his or her own by exercising regularly, especially when the sun is shining to get that sunlight you have been lacking. Being active is a great way to gain more energy and improve one’s cognitive processes and functions.
All research done for this article is from WebMD’s “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Topic Overview”.