Do you feel depressed in the winter, even though you're fine during all the other seasons? Before you diagnose yourself with Seasonal Affective Disorder, find out what it's all about right here.
Seasonal Affective Disorder - What Is SAD?
There are lots of things that can make you sad. You can feel sad cuz the cutie you were crushin' on doesn't like you back. You can be sad cuz you got a C- on a pop quiz you thought you had aced. Or, you can be sad cuz the school bully made a mean joke and hurt your feelings. But, none of these examples means that you're sad in the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) type of way. SAD is a form of depression that only lasts for a few months each winter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder - What Causes SAD?
You know it's winter when the weather turns cold and gloomy and the nights seem longer cuz daylight hours are shorter. It may not be a big deal for most people, but for some, this lack of light triggers hormones in the brain. When it’s dark, your body produces more melatonin, which is connected to sleep, and less serotonin, which is connected to mood. That's why SAD sufferers feel sleepy and depressed. But when spring rolls around and the sun shines and daylight hours get longer, SAD symptoms go away and people return to their usual mood.
Seasonal Affective Disorder - What Are the Symptoms of SAD?
Changes in mood, like feeling irritable or more sensitive
Since SAD is caused by a lack of sunlight, you'll need to increase your exposure to light to help make symptoms go away. Your doctor may recommend that you spend time outside during the day, or even travel to somewhere sunny and tropical! But if jetting off to Mexico isn't an option, SAD may be treated with light therapy. It mimics daylight by using a special light box, so you'll sit in front of it for a certain amount of time every day. Prescription medication is another way of treating SAD. Antidepressants can regulate the balance of serotonin in the brain to give you that boost of energy and elevate your mood.
Seasonal Affective Disorder - Did U Know?
SAD can affect people of all ages, but hits the most in the twenties.
SAD is more common in northern countries like Sweden and Norway, where winter days are shorter.