Are you having a bad day or is it something more?
We are heading toward the holiday season which means of course the weather will be turning colder for sure, it’s just a matter of time. For some people the thought of all that comes with the holidays is enough to create some anxiety.
For others, it’s not necessarily the holidays that bring on overwhelming feelings, it’s the change in season overall. S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder is something that begins for some this time every year.
According to the Mayo Clinic and other healthcare publications, S.A.D. can start as early as October for some people and continue to affect them throughout the winter.
What are the Symptoms?
Sleeping a lot or more than normal
Overeating, or consistently eating more than normal
Lack of Energy
Feeling Sad or Down and Out often
The Lack of Interest in doing things you’ve always done
The above symptoms are some of the milder symptoms that can occur, while more serious symptoms include:
Thoughts of not wanting to live anymore
Not being able to concentrate.
No matter the level of the symptoms you feel you have, medical experts agree that S.A.D. is something you shouldn’t try to endure on your own, and it’s something that can be treated.
Especially if you are having feelings about your self-worth or your sleep patterns have become irregular and it’s beginning to affect other areas of your life.
What Causes This?
There haven’t been confirmed causes for Seasonal Depression, but there have been some links found that could trigger it.
The Mayo Clinic says that your biological clock could be working against you. The decrease in sunlight could disrupt your body's biological clock which can trigger depression.
The serotonin levels in your brain could drop which can trigger depressed feelings.
Your melatonin levels could be off and that interrupts your sleep.
Decreased Vitamin D levels are a trigger as well.
How is S.A.D. treated?
Treatments can range from Light Therapy (Photo Therapy), Psychotherapy, or medications.
Light Therapy- “Light Boxes” are available which are used to help offset the symptoms by mimicking Light from the Outside. Boxes with at least 10,000 lux of light are suggested. It is recommended to sit 16-24 inches away from the box and do this for 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning but read the suggestions from the company who makes the light you choose to use. For some, using the light box is enough, for others, they combine the use of the light box along with one of the other treatments listed below. With a quick search on Amazon, “Light Boxes” range in price from $20 to $50.
Antidepressants can be prescribed after seeking treatment from your doctor.
Vitamin D Supplements- In addition to getting more sunshine, taking additional Vitamin D can be a benefit. Again, with a quick search on Amazon, Vitamin D Supplements can be found for less than $20 in a lot of cases. You can also go to your local pharmacy and have them advise you on which supplement can be right for you.
Seeking a Counselor- Talking to a professional has benefited some who have suffered from S.A.D
For those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, this time of year can be hard as they are at increased risks of S.A.D., so seeking medical guidance is strongly recommended.
If you have a feeling different, not yourself or have the above listed symptoms, you are encouraged to contact your doctor and discuss these issues with them. Seasonal Depression is a real thing and you’re not the only one who is going through it, and it's not something that should be allowed to control your life.
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