SAD: More Than Just the “Winter Blues”
As the days get shorter and winter truly takes hold it gets harder for everyone to get outside. Waking up gets very difficult due to it being dark outside. Many people do not see the sun during the day due to being at work all day and then commuting home after the sun went down. It is very normal to feel low during this time. But for many people this feeling of low can be more extreme. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. Majority of which is during the winter because of the lack of sunlight and being stuck inside all day because of the cold. SAD is extremely common with more than 3 million US cases per year. It is often self-diagnosed and is simply deemed a case of the “winter blues.” However if these feelings happen every year it is important that you don’t brush it off. There are multiple signs and symptoms that could mean you have SAD. These include losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having low energy, problems with sleeping, feeling hopelessness, worthlessness or guilty, difficulty concentrating and changes to your appetite or weight. If you feel down, go talk to your doctor about it. There are treatments that can help you feel better. Common treatments are to put bright lights all over your home to help combat the winter darkness. Therapy can also help. If you do experience the symptoms of SAD for more than just one part of the year, talk to your doctor about that. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the symptoms you have so that they can do their best in treating you.