What is Seasonal Depression?

As the seasons are changing, people are able to do more outside and are less confined to their houses. Many people also find that they have more energy than they did in the winter months.

This could be because of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It is a type of depression that, according to the Mayo Clinic, is related to changes in seasons. They also say that most symptoms, in people with SAD, start in the fall and continue through the long winter months. In some less common cases, people have been known to be affected in the spring and early summer.

SAD is very common in the United States, according to the Cleveland Clinic, with approximately half a million people suffering from it each year. This is more likely to start in young adulthood, but children and teens could also experience SAD. People who live far north and south of the equator are also found to be more likely to be affected. 

Most of the symptoms are the same as depression. The most common symptoms, according to Cleveland Clinic, are:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Loss of interest in usual activities 

The treatment for SAD varies depending on the severity of the case. Anti-depressants work in some cases but the most recommended treatment is light therapy and spending more time outside. Light therapy is when a device containing white fluorescent light is placed at a distance of 2-3 feet away from the patient. It is used as a substitute for sunlight, which has been shown to improve the patient’s moods. 

If you have diagnosed with SAD there are multiple things to do to keep your symptoms from returning. One thing to do is to try and spend time outside, even when it’s cloudy, the sunlight will still help. A second thing that is helpful is to eat well-balanced meals with lots of vitamins, even though you body might be craving starchy and sweet foods. Another thing that would help with SAD is exercising for thirty minutes a day, at least three times a week. 

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