Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Season affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. Most often it happens during the late fall and winter months, but some people may experience it in the spring or early summer. If you experience the symptoms listed below each year, take steps to improve your mood and motivation.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?

  • Decreased energy
  • Moody, sad, anxious
  • Loss of interest in your usual activities.
  • Eat and crave more carbohydrates, weight gain in the winter
  • Sleep more, drowsy during the day
  • Withdrawl from social settings
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Causes

There are varying views of the causes of seasonal affective disorder, but most professionals believe that there is a connection to the decrease in sunlight exposure, causing:

  • Reduced levels of the “feel good” brain chemical serotonin.
  • Disruption in the balance of melatonin, which is the sleep regulating hormone.

Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • It’s important that you be thoroughly assessed and diagnosed by your doctor. You may need further tests to rule out any other underlying problem. Questions that you and your doctor should consider:
  • Are my symptoms most likely caused by seasonal affective disorder, or could they be due to something else?
  • What else could be causing or worsening my symptoms of depression?

Treatment may include:

  • Light therapy
  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy

Natural remedies that might elevate your mood:

  • Engage in pleasurable activities everyday.
  • Get outside and soak up some Vitamin D or use Vitamin D supplements.
  • Exercise
  • Stay connected with social supports.
  • If possible, take a trip to a warmer, sunnier location.
  • Practice stress management such as yoga, meditation or guided imagery.
  • Get a massage.
  • Go to acupuncture therapy.

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