The winter season is now upon us, which for some may mean a noticeable change in our mood. With the sun setting early now and the cold weather taking over, it’s not uncommon to experience a decrease in motivation and more frequent depressive episodes during this time.
The month of December shines light on Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as the acronym, “SAD”. This disorder is a type of depression that arises during the change in season. Most people who experience SAD feel their energy being depleted and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. On the rare occasion, people may experience depression caused by SAD during the spring or early summer months too.
Symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feelings of depression as the winter season progresses
- Low energy
- Lack of sleep or oversleeping
- Losing interest and motivation
- Loss of appetite or weight loss/gain
- Sluggish and anxious feelings
- Suicidal thoughts
The cause of SAD may be due to the reduced level of sunlight in the fall and winter months, a decrease in serotonin levels due to the lack of sunlight, and the body’s level of melatonin becoming disrupted.
If you experience severe symptoms of SAD and do not get treated, it can possibly lead to worse problems such as:
- Problems at work or school
- Substance Abuse
- Extreme suicidal thoughts or behaviour
- Other mental health disorders
Light therapy, medication and psychotherapy are options of treatment you may want to look into if you’re experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Of course it is normal to have some days of feeling down, but if you feel it an overwhelming amount of times and just can’t get yourself back to normal, you should highly consider seeing a doctor or counselling service.