This time of year can be a joyous time for many people. Holiday cheer, social gatherings, and festive activities abound. Yet for some, about 5% of adults, the wintery months ahead are difficult because they have a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression where moods change along with the seasons; usually changing about the same time each year. Symptoms can occur in the spring/early summer, but are more common in the fall and winter.
SAD is more than ‘the winter blues’ that some refer to it as. Symptoms associated with SAD can be overwhelming and debilitating to one’s daily life. Oftentimes people with fall and winter SAD can have symptoms such as: oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, social withdrawal, tiredness, or lower energy. These symptoms can last all throughout the fall and winter season, partly due to the decreased amount of daylight we have during this time of year.
In general, SAD is found more often in women than in men. It is also more common for those who live further north, such as we do here in Minnesota/Wisconsin. If you or someone you know may be exhibiting these types of symptoms there is help. The first step is talking with your doctor or a mental health professional about your symptoms. To be diagnosed with SAD, depressive symptoms, such as stated in this article, must be present, around the same time of year, for 2 consecutive years.
There are four common treatments for SAD.
- Vitamin D
- Medications (such as antidepressants)
- Talk therapy
- Light therapy
There is not a one-size fits all treatment for SAD, so please talk with a health professional for further for information about SAD and possible treatments. FamilyMeans clinicians can help with this type of symptomology – reach out today at 651-439-4840 or click here to schedule an appointment.