Seasonal Affective Disorder is no joke, especially to those who live in the North.
Even though most of us don’t like to admit it, every year the change of seasons often brings with it some symptoms of depression. Every winter the days get shorter, the sun starts to hide its face, and we all start feeling irritable and upset for seemingly no reason.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, aptly called SAD is depression that coincides with the changing of the seasons, specifically winter. According to Psychology Today, SAD is estimate to affect 10 million Americans every year. It typically occurs between the months of November through February, and can last up to five months.
Symptoms of SAD can include:
Increased sleep without feeling rested
Feelings of hopelessness
SAD is 60-90 percent more common in females, and is linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain according to the American Psychiatric Association. With the changes of the seasons, our biological clocks and circadian rhythms are thrown out of whack, which can bring on a case of the SADS (no pun intended).
There is no actual test for SAD, since the symptoms are similar to regular depression. You can tell if you suffer, if every winter around the same time you get the same symptoms and changes in mood, concentration, or motivation. If these symptoms greatly impact your life and ability to function, you should consider seeing a doctor. Treatments like light therapy (exposure to artificial sunlight) and drug therapy have been show to help ease the symptoms of SAD, so if you find yourself overly affected by the change of the seasons, rest assured that it is a legitimate disorder, and don’t be afraid to do something about it.