Dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder

To many people the cold, dark winter months can bring on SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can make this time of year extremely hard for them to deal with. I personally can suffer with SAD in the summer as winter is full of very fond memories of my parents. We would do many things like make snow angels, snowman, and snow ice cream (do not try this now as there is way too much air pollution that can cause a wide range of illnesses) set up our “Christmas” Tree after my dad and I had gone out on my aunt and uncles farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving to cut one down. Mom and I baked all kinds of goodies. As I got older, I was allowed more freedom to help her in the kitchen as she made homemade soups, bread and other yummy things.

Please remember that if you feel the need to just talk or connect to someone I am as close as an email and Skype.

Anyway, I regress from what I want to focus on today which is possibly deliberating condition that can cause a whole bunch of different things to occur to a person dealing with it.

Here is information directly from The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA about S.A.D. It is a renowned health care facility know worldwide.

Overview

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves during the fall or winter months.

Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications.

Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.

Symptoms

In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having thoughts of not wanting to live

Fall and winter SAD

Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

Spring and summer SAD

Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Increased irritability

Seasonal changes and bipolar disorder

People who have bipolar disorder are at increased risk of seasonal affective disorder. In some people with bipolar disorder, episodes of mania may be linked to a specific season. For example, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of mania or a less intense form of mania (hypomania), anxiety, agitation and irritability. They may also experience depression during the fall and winter months.

When to see a doctor

It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your health care provider. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or think about suicide.

Click here for more information about S.A.D. from the Mayo CLinic