Have you ever felt down, unable to wake up or lazier in the winter? You may believe you are suffering from the winter blues, but you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of a depression mostly called mood disorder, occurs at the same time every year. This happens mostly in the winter and makes you moody and depressed. This gets better by spring or summer. A very rare type of seasonal depression is called "summer depression." In this approach, SAD worsens during the summer and improves during the winter.
Although the exact cause of seasonal affective disorder is unknown, doctors believe that the chemical produced in the brain induce changes in attitude at particular times of the year.
In one theory, lack of sunlight during the winter or fall causes the brain to make less serotonin, a chemical that is linked to brain pathways that regulate mood.
The change in season can disrupt the melatonin balance of the body, which directly plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
Symptoms of SAD:
In seasonal affective disorder, symptoms may start out mild but become more severe as the season progresses.
- Feeling moody throughout the day almost every day of the season
- Lost interest in activities that you once loved to
- Difficulty in concentration
- Suicidal thoughts
Winter SAD: Symptoms specific to winter depression
- Overeating and craving for carbohydrates
- Fatigue or low energy
Summer SAD: Symptoms specific to summer depression
- Poor appetite or weight loss
Risk factors of SAD
Family history: It could be genetic; if any of your family members have SAD or another form of depression, you could get it too.
Major depression or bipolar disorder: Symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally, if you have any of these conditions.
Low level of vitamin D: Exposed to sunlight, the skin itself produces vitamin D, which boosts serotonin activity.
Treatment depends on your symptoms if you have a similar disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Treatments may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy, and medications.
When too see doctor?
If your depression lasts more than two week. If you notice that it is interfering with your daily tasks, if you no longer find the activities you used to enjoy, or if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, consult your healthcare provider right away.
They have not found a way to prevent seasonal affective disorder. However if you find any of the above symptoms, see your doctor and take treatment if SAD is diagnosed before it gets bad, which will eventually prevent it from getting worse.