Some people feel like they have been abandoned by their usual personalities during the winter months. They are lethargic, moody and irritable.They are not only foggy and depressed at this time of year; they have S.A.D., or seasonal affective disorder.
Sometimes referred to as the winter blues, these signs are indicators of a very real illness. Doctors call it affective seasonal depression, or SAD.
SAD identifies a period of sadness or low mood that is associated with a specific time of the year. Symptoms frequently start in November and subside in the spring.
Who SAD affects
Even individuals who have not been diagnosed with a chronic mood condition will experience subtle symptoms of SAD each winter, such as major depression. About 4% and 6% of Turks suffer from SAD, while another 10% to 20% have a milder form of the disease.
In the winter months, it’s normal to blame holiday tension for moodiness. But studies suggest that since there are less daylight hours, SAD is more likely caused by reduced sunlight exposure.
It may be an additional risk factor for a mood disorder to have a family history of depression or suicide.
How to relieve SAD
- Just getting out more can help people suffering from SAD, particularly in sunny climates like the Mediterranean region.
- Also, light therapy is effective. It involves sitting under a special lamp or light box that simulates sunlight for 15 to 30 minutes each morning. This additional sensitivity to light is thought to activate mood-elevating neurotransmitters.
- Symptoms can also be alleviated by drugs, such as antidepressants. People who are being treated for chronic depression may find that during the winter months their condition worsens and may seek light therapy, increased counseling or a medication update.
Do you have winter blues?
There are some of the seasonal affective disorder signs or characteristics people report having during the winter months.
- Sleep disruptions (too much or too little either)
- Appetite Shifts
- Weight Shifts
- Changes in energy level
- Sentiment of remorse
- Increased tobacco or alcohol use
- Suicide thoughts (directly call your doctor)
- Speak to a doctor to discuss a potential diagnosis and treatment if you encounter two or three of these symptoms.