Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that largely goes unnoticed or diagnosed. SAD starts in the fall and lasts all through winter when the weather gets colder the days get longer and darker. This causes a shift in mood for people who experience mood disorders.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. It usually begins in the fall and winter months and can last until spring or even early summer. It is related to lack of sunlight and this causes a change in our internal clocks resulting in feelings of depression and hopelessness. Our bodies naturally produce more melatonin during the dark hours, increasing feelings of fatigue.
Symptoms of SAD are loss of energy, feeling moody, depression, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, feeling hopeless, difficulty concentrating or having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
Facts about Seasonal Affective Disorder:
- Woman are diagnosed about 4x more than men
- People who live further from the equator are diagnosed most
- People with a family history of mental illness are more at risk for developing SAD
- Younger adults are more likely to be diagnosed with SAD and more likely to feel enhanced symptoms of the seasons changing
Seasonal Affective Disorder is very common; about 3 million people a year are diagnosed. It is commonly referred to a “winter blues” but is real condition. If you or a family member has been experiencing loss of energy, shift in mood or even feelings of depression, don’t hesitate to reach out and get the mental health support you need.
Doctors can perform a psychological assessment to diagnose and treat SAD. Your doctor may ask about your lifestyle, sleeping habits, thoughts and mood. They may also inquire about your family history and do a physical exam, including blood tests and possibly thyroid tests to rule out potential physical ailments. Your doctor will also inquire about the depressive episodes and when they commonly occur. To qualify as SAD, the episodes of depression must occur during specific seasons or two consecutive months.Treatment for SAD can include talking to a therapist, light therapy, or even medications.
To learn more about how we can help combat these feelings of depressions or hopelessness, give us a call at 614-580-6917.