Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that happens during certain seasons or times of year.

If you have SAD, you will experience depression during particular seasons, or because of certain types of weather or temperature. You can feel it in winter or summer.

Do you feel depressed during dark winter months?

Maybe you have seasonal depression. One theory is that decreased exposure to sunlight in winter and increased exposure in spring and summer affect the natural biological clock that regulates hormones, sleep, and mood. Individuals affected by SAD may have difficulty regulating their biological clock, known as the circadian rhythm.

What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • not wanting to see people
  • Feeling sad, low, tearful, guilty, or hopeless
  • Feeling anxious, irritable and agitated
  • Being more prone to physical health problems, such as colds, infections, or other illnesses
  • Sleeping too much or difficulty waking up (common with SAD in winter)
  • Sleeping too little or waking up too much (common with SAD in summer)
  • Losing interest in sex or physical contact
  • Other symptoms of depression

Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder

Bright light therapy (using a light therapy box to mimic outdoor light) has been shown to reduce the severity of depressive symptoms more than a placebo.

Dawn stimulation therapy (using a bedside lamp that gradually brightens in the morning to mimic dawn) also reduces symptom severity for seasonal affective disorder.

It may also be worth discussing your symptoms with a GP, especially if significantly impact your life, for a depression assessment and to see whether a short course of medication could also be of benefit.

If you have difficulties in winter, at Oval Medical Center you find all the support you need.

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