As the seasons start to change, you may notice some emotional, physical and mental changes within yourself.
The festive autumn trees went from a ray of beautiful colors to bare and dead stumps. You may find yourself wanting to sleep in, feeling anxious, or just like the trees outside your window... empty.
Could you be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
SAD is a type of depression that happens at a specific time of the year. Even though you can also experience SAD during the summer, SAD usually occurs in the winter months. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately a half million individuals in the U.S. suffer from winter SAD, and 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild form of the winter blues. Also, in those who suffer from SAD, between 60 to 90 percent are women.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
Since SAD is a branch of depression, the symptoms are similar: having trouble sleeping, feeling sluggish, low energy, appetite changes, weight gain or weight loss, mood changes and constantly feeling tired.
What causes SAD?
Even though doctors don't know the exact reason for SAD, there are a few reasons why you could be experiencing SAD. This includes your serotonin and melatonin levels, family genetics, and if your biological clock has been disrupted.
What are some of the treatment options?
Unfortunately, even though moving to a warmer climate seems like a great solution, not everyone is able to. However, you can utilize a therapeutic light box for light therapy or antidepressant drugs.
What else do you need to know about SAD?
Norman Rosenthal, MD, discusses the difference between SAD and the winter blues, what the symptoms of SAD are, and tips to help treat your own SAD symptoms.