That time of year is here again; time for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to kick in. SAD is linked to the decrease in light associated with the changing of the seasons and how these light changes affect our bodies. SAD symptoms include:
*Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
The treatments for SAD include medication, a light box, exercise, good sleep hygiene, spending time with others and therapy. Your psychiatrist and you can decide on the best course of action.
Researchers think that people with SAD may have trouble regulating one of the key neurotransmitters involved in mood; serotonin. People with SAD produce more serotonin which leaves less serotonin at the synapse where it is needed. SAD also runs in familes.
Another piece of the puzzle is that people with SAD may overproduce the hormone melatonin. Melatonin, which regulates sleep, increases during winter because the shorter days tell our bodies to produce more which leaves people feeling sleepy and lethargic.
I typically wage on all-out war on SAD. (Ok, technically it is seasonal changes related to my Bipolar Disorder, but the aim is the same). Over the years I have gotten more and more into the holiday season. You know HallowThanksChristmas? I decorate and make crafts related to the season(s). I go to light displays. One of my favorite things to do is wrap Christmas presents with Christmas music on in the background.
So there are several treatments for SAD. Using more than one at a time helps.
The most important thing is take good care of yourself.
Do you experience SAD? What symptoms do you have and what do you do to get past them?
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