Shorter, bleaker days outside often bring changes in people, such as hot tempers, feeling depressed and unmotivated to start each day. Many people feel like they have the winter blues. If you are one of them, could you be suffering from SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically sets in as fall turns to winter. The decreased amount of sunlight is a major contributing factor for winter suffers, although it can also happen during other times of the year. SAD also appears to be more common in women than in men.
For some, the depression and mood swings affect their concentration and ability to perform at work. Others may notice a change in relationships and how well they can communicate with family, friends, and co-workers.
Look at these symptoms and consider seeing your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If the doctor rules out SAD, he or she may be able to pinpoint the problem and suggest a few things to help you feel better.
Symptoms of SAD
- Feeling depressed or irritable
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
- Feeling lethargic or fatigued
- Appetite change
- Craving comfort food (carbohydrates)
- Difficulty getting along with others
SAD Treatments and Self-help
If SAD is diagnosed, your doctor may simply suggest spending more time in natural sunlight, eating healthier, and getting more exercise. In this case, taking a short walk, reading, or participating in any outdoor activity where you get will more sun as well as getting more vitamin C, may be just what the doctor ordered.
Depending on your needs and the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may suggest light therapy, which is the primary treatment and uses special fluorescent lights. Of the two light therapy types, one uses a bright light, while the other simulates dawn and begins while you are asleep.
You may want to consider joining in on group events, taking up a new hobby, or other new activities. Visiting an indoor garden or taking time for an indoor tanning session might also help improve your disposition.
If the winter blues and feeling out of sorts is a yearly occurrence, you may want to take a closer look at getting help for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
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