Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Written by Chad Faust

The holiday season is in full swing, and despite a lot of joy often associated with this time of the year, seasonal depression is something that can’t be overlooked.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a category of depression that materializes during certain times of the year. The disorder is much more frequent in the winter months than in the summertime, and an important factor of this is limited exposure to sunlight. This reduces levels of serotonin and melatonin in our bodies, two important regulators of mood and sleep. Symptoms of SAD include low energy, hypersomnia, weight gain, and social withdrawal (which can manifest itself in the form of strained relationships).

Seasonal Affective Disorder can limit everyone from living their fullest lives with their friends and families during multiple seasons, but most often during the fall/winter time of the year. SAD can affect someone who already struggles with mental health or even someone who experiences normal mental health most of the time.

From lifestyle changes to seeing a medical professional, it’s important to know that there are a lot of different ways to help combat SAD.

If you think your condition may be severe, talk with your doctor about things such as antidepressants, psychotherapy, or even light therapy. Talking with professionals about different medication or helping to identify patterns in behavior can help you learn ways to treat the disorder.

There are a number of things you can do without seeing your doctor in order to help beat SAD. Going outside more often (especially when there’s a great deal of sunlight) is a good way to gain exposure to vitamin D and improve your mood. Eating healthier and making sure to exercise consistently is an easy way to help improve your lifestyle and mood simultaneously.

There are many things to do in order to help ease seasonal depression, but the most important thing to do is to be proactive. Asking for help and wanting to be the best version of yourself can go hand-in-hand, and it’s crucial that you address any concerns you have early to ensure that you’ll take action to help your mental health.

Keep in mind that everyone around you could be experiencing these symptoms during this season and that you can play a part in helping them combat SAD. Variations in mood, appetite, or energy amongst your friends could be more than just a bad day. It’s important to talk with the people you love about how you’re doing, and make sure that you’re there as a support system for others during this particular season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, and it can happen to anyone around the holiday season. Look for signs of seasonal depression early, whether it’s affecting you or someone you know.