Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is not considered a separate disorder but is a type of depression characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern, with symptoms lasting about 4 to 5 months per year. Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months; sapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months.

Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves during the fall or winter months. SAD is more common in people with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).Additionally, people with SAD tend to have other mental disorders, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, an eating disorder, an anxiety disorder, or panic disorder. SAD sometimes runs in families. SAD is more common in people who have relatives with other mental illnesses.

Symptoms

In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Experiencing cravings, overeating and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Frequent thoughts of death and suicide

Symptoms

In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Experiencing cravings, overeating and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Frequent thoughts of death and suicide
  • Experience of voilent behavior

Bipolar And Seasonal Disorder:

People who have bipolar disorder are at increased risk of seasonal affective disorder. In some people with bipolar disorder, episodes of mania may be linked to a specific season. For example, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of mania or a less intense form of mania, anxiety, agitation and irritability. They may also experience depression during the fall and winter months.

Lifestyle and home remedies:

Treatment plan for seasonal affective disorder:

  • Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office.
  • Get outside. You need to spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise and other types of physical activity help relieve stress and anxiety. Being more fit can make you feel better about yourself, too, which can lift your mood.
  • Normalize sleep patterns. Schedule reliable times to wake up and go to bed each day. Especially for winter, reduce or eliminate napping and oversleeping.

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