Do gray winter skies and bitter cold seem to affect your mood? Does the winter weather get you down? If so, you may be part of the estimated 6% of the Americans that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a form of depression triggered by seasonal changes, typically beginning around the end of autumn and lasts throughout the winter months.
At first, experts were hesitant to believe in such an illness, but studies have demonstrated changes in people’s moods due to the weather. In New York City, it is reported that approximately 4.7% of the population suffers from SAD yearly.
Symptoms of SAD are similar to those of other forms of depression: weight gain, an increase in sleep, low energy levels, sluggishness and mood changes. The condition is most common in regions with long winters, and can also be caused by lack of sunlight and the lowered body temperature.
If SAD affects you during the chilly months of the year, here
are a few ways that you can combat the symptoms:
1). Light Therapy is the most popular and doctor-recommended treatment for SAD, with improvement shown in 3-4 weeks. Sit in front of or close to a bright light or light
box without looking directly into it for about thirty minutes every day. The light mimics the sun and should improve your mood.
2). Since SAD is a form of depression, other treatments include psychotherapy and medications. If your SAD symptoms are serious, speak with a medical professional.
If you think you might be affected by SAD, start these treatments before autumn to prevent the symptoms before they even begin.