Spring is fast approaching! The sun is coming out earlier! The days are becoming longer! Are you one of those who just all of a sudden grow a burst of energy the minute the temperature rises, and the sun comes out? Does your energy fluctuate, just like the weather? If yes, it may be likely that you think it's just the case of the winter blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of mood disorder that is associated with seasonal changes. This occurs when there is an interruption in the circadian system in your body. There are two cases of SAD: winter-pattern SAD and summer-pattern SAD. You would think that there is no such thing as SAD during beautiful bright blue-sky days, but you may be surprised. SAD, unofficially, may affect 11 million people while 25 million people experience a milder form of SAD.
Symptoms may appear to be similar to those who experience depression, however the main thing to watch for is the shift of moods or behavior along with the seasons or calendar.
During the winter months, signs of major depression may range from losing interest in activities you once enjoyed to having problems sleeping to feeling hopeless. During the summer months, insomnia occurs, causing anxiety or the loss of your appetite.
There are steps to stabilize your mood and motivation through those months that affect the disorder.
- Light Therapy: natural light or “full-spectrum” light has proven to have an antidepressant effect, which can be a good solution during those dark cold days.
- Prevention: This takes a bit of an effort, spend some time outside if you can. Make some time for yourself, eat a well-balanced meal. Exercise consistently.
- Treatment: treatment differs, depending on the severity of your symptoms. This may include traditional antidepressants and/or vitamins.
The statements above are not meant to be an official diagnosis. If you feel you may have seasonal affective disorder, call a medical professional for further consultation.