Seasonal Affective Disorder

Feeling down and blue doing the months of November through February may not be a mere unexplainable event inside your mind playing tricks on you after all.  Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD is a mood disorder that appears from late Fall to about the first of March.  Mayo Clinic provides the following symptoms for Fall/Winter SAD:

Winter-onset seasonal affective disorder symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating

According to The National Institute of Health, SAD is more common in females than males.  Below are symptoms that one should watch for according to The National Institute of Health (NIH):

Symptoms usually build up slowly in the late autumn and winter months. Symptoms are usually the same as with other forms of depression:

  • Hopelessness
  • Increased appetite with weight gain (weight loss is more common with other forms of depression)
  • Increased sleep (too little sleep is more common with other forms of depression)
  • Less energy and ability to concentrate
  • Loss of interest in work or other activities
  • Sluggish movements
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unhappiness and irritability

SAD can sometimes become long-term depression. Bipolar disorder or thoughts of suicide are also possible.

Treatments for SAD range medication under the care of a physician to Light Therapy to Home Management which according to NIH includes the following :

MANAGING YOUR DEPRESSION AT HOME

To manage your symptoms at home:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Take medicines the right way. Learn how to manage side effects.
  • Learn to watch for early signs that your depression is getting worse. Have a plan if it does get worse.
  • Try to exercise more often. Look for activities that make you happy.
  • Practice good sleep habits.

Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. These can make depression worse over time. They may also affect your judgment about suicide.

When you are struggling with depression, talk about how you’re feeling to someone you trust. Try to be around people who are caring and positive. Volunteer or get involved in group activities.

Question for your comments:  Have you ever attempted to help someone to get beyond SAD?  What was that experience like for you?

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