The Ins and Outs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Winter is most definitely here, and whilst it brings great things like Christmas it can also bring SAD.
What is SAD?
SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It affects a majority of people in Wintertime as the days get shorter. Teenhealth.org says, “with SAD, a person typically has symptoms of depression and unexplained fatigue as winter approaches and daylight hours become shorter.”
What Causes SAD?
Sunlight impacts us out a lot in our day to day life. It helps with things like producing vitamin D and serotonin. “Serotonin is a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human body. It is sometimes called the happy chemical, because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness” Medical News Today. So when the days get shorter, there’s a smaller chance for us to soak up serotonin which may lead to feelings of depression, or SAD.
What Are The Symptoms?
The Symptoms of Autumn or Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder include:
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy
SAD vs Depression
The important thing to note about SAD is that it is controlled by the Seasons. If you notice your mood changing, or any of the symptoms above, when winter sets in then you might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, if you have these feelings all year round you may be suffering from depression. Note that depression can often be made worse by the seasons changing.
Whilst it’s 100% normal to have days where you feel a bit off or down, if you notice that this is happening for days or weeks on end you need to seek medical advice.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can also affect people with the change to Spring/Summer.
For more info on looking after your mental wellness see here.
Always seek the help of a medical professional if you think you are suffering from any form of mental illness.