Seasonal Affective Disorder

Is my depression related to the time of year?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year, typically in the winter months. Symptoms of SAD may include

  • feeling depressed
  • having low energy
  • experiencing changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • having difficulty concentrating.

SAD affects about 3 to 6 million Americans and is four times more common among women than men

One theory about the cause of SAD is that it is related to the shorter days and longer nights of the winter season, which can disrupt the body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression. Another theory is that the lack of sunlight during the winter can affect the brain’s production of serotonin, a chemical that plays a role in mood regulation.

There are several treatment options available for SAD, including light therapy, antidepressants, psychotherapy and exercise.

Light therapy involves sitting in front of a special light box that emits a bright, full-spectrum light that can help regulate the body’s internal clock and improve mood. Antidepressants can also be effective in treating SAD, and psychotherapy can help individuals better understand and manage their emotions.

Exercise has been shown to be an antidepressant for those suffering from mild to moderate depression.

Why exercise?
Exercise is beneficial for anyone who is suffering from depression. Exercise releases endorphins – hormones that increase feelings of well-being. In addition, exercise boosts your metabolism, which helps improve your energy levels. Other benefits include:

  • increased self-esteem and self-confidence
  • improved sleep
  • reduced anxiety
  • better fitting clothes 🙂

What exercise is best?
While any form of exercise can help, some exercises are better suited to treating SAD. Walking and dancing, are amazing ways to feel better. Other activities include:

  • strength training
  • gentle stretching & mobility work
  • yoga
  • running
  • strength training

It’s important to remember that SAD is a real medical condition and seeking treatment is important. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of SAD, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

In conclusion, SAD is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months and is characterized by a range of symptoms including low energy, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating. Treatment options for SAD include light therapy, antidepressants, psychotherapy and exercise.

This is not meant to replace a doctor’s advice.  It’s important to seek treatment if you are experiencing symptoms.

Margie Clegg and depression
Margie Clegg is a depression survivor

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