Fall and winter, with their shorter days, often cause depression and sadness. This is true in some degree for many of us, but this time of year, with holidays coming up, is especially difficult for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The change of time from standard to daylight savings affects many, but those have SAD can experience an increase in depression and anxiety causing them to feel lethargic and sometimes despondent.
One symptom of SAD is a change in sleep. Afternoon naps may be needed. Oversleeping but not getting rested is a common complaint.
SAD sufferers may isolate themselves from family and friends. They may be more negative in thought and speech. A loss of energy is common, as is difficulty concentrating. It has also been noted to be a leading cause of suicide during this time.
SAD sufferers may complain more about aches and pains during this time. They may also gain more weight than normal due to an increase in appetite.
SAD is also referred to as Winter Depression, and affects over ten million people in the United States. It is more common in women, but men may suffer more intense symptoms.
Another Seasonal Affective Disorder is Spring and Summer SAD. In this form, insomnia may replace oversleeping. Weight loss due to decrease in appetite, and agitation instead of lethargy are also common differences.
Can Seasonal Affective Disorder be prevented?Since the specifics of the cause of the disorder are still unknown, as with any other depression, genetics, age and body chemistry play large roles in its development.
Some sources recommend the following to help alleviate the symptoms: a healthy low-fat diet, vitamin supplements, eliminating caffeine, exercise, and lots of light.Learning some good stress management techniques will help also.
If the depression lasts more than a few days, you should consult your doctor. Drastic changes in sleep patterns and appetite, feeling hopeless, and suicidal thoughts are strong indications you need medical advice.