There are many people around the world who experience seasonal depression, the symptoms of which appear during winter and fall. The onset of symptoms may be sudden or gradual and they recede or disappear during summers and upon the arrival of spring. These people know that they are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder when they are troubled by these symptoms.
Indications that You are Suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder
It is during fall and winter when one is less exposed to sunlight and the temperatures are low that the symptoms of SAD appear. The symptoms of seasonal depression are usually mild, but in some people they can be moderate or even severe. People who work in closed building with no windows to get direct sunlight are more prone to suffer from the symptoms of SAD. There are also people who notice changes in their mood when the weather is cloudy and remains so for long periods of time. The symptoms of SAD are varied with not all individuals experiencing them all.
- Less enthusiasm for daily chores
- No interest is social engagement
- Putting on weight
- Craving for foods rich in carbohydrates
As explained earlier, not all victims of SAD experience all of these symptoms. Some may crave for carbohydrate rich foods though their energy levels are normal. Many a times, people have reported weight loss as against weight gain when experiencing SAD. In some people, it is the onset of summers that triggers symptoms of SAD rather than the colder months of fall and winter. Doctors explain it to be a result of high temperatures and humidity. Among such patients, symptoms of SAD include weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, and reduced appetite. For more on SAD visit sadlighttherapy.net.
What Leads to SAD?
There is a chemical manufactured inside our brains. When some people do not receive normal amounts of sunlight as is common on cloudy days and winters, there is an imbalance of this chemical caused inside their brains. This imbalance is reflected in seasonal mood variation as is the case with seasonal activities in other mammals because of changes in daylight. There is a biological clock inside our bodies that is altered with seasonal variations making many of us feel out of sync with daily chores.
There is another chemical called Melatonin that is believed to be behind SAD. This is a hormone that regulates sleep. In winters and fall when the atmosphere is dark and gloomy, our bodies produce melatonin in larger quantities. Scientists also believe that our brain chemistry is affected by variations in the intensity of light and bright light makes us feel energetic and cheerful. However, even they are unable to say how this happens. Some people say that people living away from equator are more likely to suffer from SAD. In general, the symptoms of SAD are most aggravated during the months of January and February. Though there is no age for beginning of SAD, it has been found that people in the age range of 18-30 are most affected by this disorder.
Getting exposed to bright sunlight can lessen SAD symptoms. You can choose to take a walk on a sunny morning or you can sit close to the window to receive daylight during office time. For people who experience severe symptoms of SAD, phototherapy has been found to be a good way to get relief from the symptoms. Bright light makes all the difference to the brain chemistry and corrects the imbalance that may have taken place inside.
A special lamp giving out fluorescent light is used to provide bright light to the victims for 30-90 minutes a day. Sometimes patients may require psychotherapy and even medication in the form of antidepressants.
If you are affected by SAD, you must take help from a trained doctor. When misdiagnosed as thyroid problem, mononucleosis, viral infection etc, patients continue to suffer despite taking medications. Sometimes, doctors diagnose SAD as severe depression.
If you are suffering from severe depression or having suicidal tendencies, it is better to consult a doctor as soon as possible. If one gets the right diagnosis and treatment early, SAD can be easily managed.
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