Are you SAD?

Fall is here

Winter is near

It’s always bittersweet

The temperature starts to drop, the leaves turn different colors

Some say it is their favorite season…

Personally it is the time of year when I question my sanity, as I question myself for choosing to live in the midwest where winters can be brutally cold. 

The cold, less hours of daylight...

Eventually it can affect certain individuals who suffer from a condition known as:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Basically SAD is a form of depression that occurs as the seasons change, starting early fall and lasting through early spring.

According to the Mayo Clinic here are signs to watch for:

  • 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

These symptoms can range from mild to severe. 

Research has shown that SAD is correlated with difficulty regulating serotonin during the fall and winter due to a decrease in the levels of light. There is also evidence to support that people suffering from SAD may have an overproduction of melatonin leading to increased tiredness. 

So what can you do if you too suffer from this?

  1. Light therapy. 

Studies have shown that lights with an intensity of 10 000 LUX have found to be the most effective in reducing SAD symptoms.  

*** Disclaimer from Harvard Medical School Publishing:

“ it doesn’t work or isn’t appropriate for everyone. Some people need more light, or brighter light. Others can’t tolerate bright light—in people with bipolar disorder, for example, it can trigger hypomania or mania. And even though the risk of eye damage from bright light is low, anyone with diabetes (which can damage the retina) or pre-existing eye disease should check with a doctor before trying light therapy”

2. Exercise/Movement:

Nature’s best stress and depression reliever. Get to the gym, do yoga, clean the house, run after your kid…

3. Psychotherapy

Getting professional support is always an option to learn coping tools to get through the “winter blues”

4. Medication

If needed, consulting with a psychiatrist regarding medications that could alleviate symptoms can be helpful. 

Stay warm and healthy! 

  1. Depression Research and Treatment. Volume 2015, Article ID 178564, 6 pages.