As the seasons start to change every year, millions of Americans face a noticeable shift in their temperament and emotional wellbeing. With fall approaching, daylight hours are reduced, which may affect one’s enjoyment of life. Fortunately, there is hope to combat these feelings.
Understanding and Combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a form of depression related to the change of seasons. Feeling down and discouraged happens to the best of us, but these feelings, when you can’t seem to shake them, might need more attention.
SAD may affect 11 million people in the U.S. each year, and 25 million more may have a milder form called the winter blues. The Mayo Clinic defines SAD as a type of depression related to changes in seasons – SAD usually starts in the fall and continues into the winter months. However, there are also occurrences of Summer SAD. The main feature of SAD is that your mood and behavior shift at the same time every year as the seasons change.
Other common symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling sad, cranky, or hopeless
- Less energy
- Trouble concentrating
- More desire to be alone
While this disorder is felt across all demographics, it is more regularly diagnosed in women and is found to occur more frequently in younger adults.
In an article published by the Cleveland Clinic, they suggest three ways to have a brighter mood and combat SAD.
- Exercise – Moving your body creates good brain chemistry and combats the tendency to be sluggish.
- Create social situations – Try to connect with others by meeting up with family, friends, or volunteering.
- Use light therapy – Also called phototherapy, light therapy mimics our exposure to the sun, minus the ultraviolet rays. It may improve the mood of a majority of people suffering from SAD. While it is generally safe and well-tolerated by most people, please check with your doctor if it is right for you.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and discover ways to fight it, continue reading the articles below. If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of SAD, please speak with a doctor to determine the best individual course of action.
- Cleveland Clinic - 3 Best Strategies to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Johns Hopkins Medicine - Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Mayo Clinic – Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Fight Off Seasonal Depression with These 7 Affordable Essentials – By Lifestyle Writer Shelby Deering
- How to Fight Seasonal Depression Amid the Pandemic - New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University