Things you need to know
-Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) begins in the winter and gradually fades in the summer.
-SAD is due to the change in seasons and is a form of depression.
-Common in places where there is a lack of sunlight that disrupts the circadian cycle.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
It would not be wrong to call seasonal affective disorder (SAD) winter depression. SAD is a type of depression that is most severe between December- February. Though it is very common to happen in winters only, in rare cases, people can also experience SAD in summers.
Seasonal affective disorder symptoms
SAD can affect any age group and is most likely to appear between 18- 30years.
Symptoms may be minimal at first, but they may grow more severe as the season advances.
- Sleeping more than usual
- Feeling depressed
- Detach yourself from social life
- Losing interest in daily activities
- Feeling sluggish
- Spending too much time sleeping
- Craving carbohydrates
- Overeating and gaining weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling worthless and losing the purpose of living
Causes of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Disturbance in the normal circadian rhythm of the body
- In the dark and gloomy winter evenings, the pineal gland in the brain releases melatonin, which is responsible for tiredness after sundown
- Reduced amount of neurotransmitter serotonin (A feel-good substance)
Diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder
There are no laboratory tests done for diagnosing SAD in a person. This can only be diagnosed by the signs and symptoms a person shows in a span of 1 to 2 weeks. Listed below are the signs a person with SAD might indicate:-
- Depressed feelings
- Too much increase or decrease in sleep
- A drastic change in appetite
- Feeling fatigued
- Suicidal thoughts
- Problem in concentration
Seasonal affective disorder treatments
- As per light therapy, it is essential to expose yourself to bright light during the early hours of the day
- In psychotherapy, make conversations and alter the negative thoughts that make you feel worse
- Learn how to manage stress
- As per doctors recommendations, take antidepressant medication to treat the seasonal affective disorder
- Indulge in regular, moderate exercises
- Do more physical activities
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Learn relaxation techniques
- Cycling acts as an excellent cardiovascular workout, also beneficial to the brain’s health
Light therapy won’t cure your disorder but will help improve the symptoms within just a few days.
SAD becomes more common as people get older and is found more in women than in men.
Yes, because vitamin D deficiency has been reported in persons with SAD, which can be due to the lack of sunlight.