• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Are You Feeling Low Because Seasonal Affective Disorder Season Is Here?

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, many people experience feelings that are unlike what they were feeling before. Out of the blue arises feelings of sadness, gloom, hopelessness, and stress. It leads them to wonder about the changes in their thinking. Well, these people are suffering from what is known as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD is classified as a type of depression that occurs in winter every year for some people. Some of the typical seasonal affective disorder symptoms are increased cravings, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and loss of energy, among many more. It is observed more commonly among women than men.

What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Symptoms experienced by people include:

  1. A depressed and low mood for some winter months.

  2. Changes in appetite and weight.

  3. Irritability, anxiousness, and tension.

  4. Bodyache without any reason.

  5. Difficulty in paying attention.

  6. Sudden changes in sleeping patterns.

  7. Desire to use alcohol or drugs for comfort.

  8. A persistent feeling of hopelessness and sadness.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

As the winter months begin, the exposure to sunlight reduces, hence, it affects our minds in different ways. The causes of experiencing SAD are:

  1. Disturbance in body’s sleep-wake cycle

  2. Less production of serotonin

  3. More production of melatonin

1.   Disturbance in Body’s Sleep-Wake Cycle

how long does sad last

Man with disturbed sleep, Credit: Pixabay


Your body’s internal clock responds to differences in winter and summer months. It does so by regulating your appetite, mood, and sleep. When night’s become longer and days become shorter, they can leave you feeling disoriented and lethargic at unexpected times.

2.   Less Production of Serotonin

depression

a girl depressed, Credit: Pixabay


Serotonin is a neuro-transmitter that regulates your mood. The low levels of sunlight in winter can lower its production. It may affect your sleep, memory,  and appetite. Hence, you may feel depressed.

3.   More Production of Melatonin

seasonal affective disorder symptoms

woman feeling weary and exhausted, Credit: Pixabay


In the dark, your brain produces more melatonin. It is the hormone that helps one to sleep. When the day’s become short and nights become long, the production of melatonin rises. It leaves you feeling exhausted and weary.

How Long Does SAD Last?

treatment

A child suffering from depression, Credit: Pixabay


SAD is not only experienced during the winter months. It is also felt during the beginning of spring and summer. In summer,  it is experienced due to high heat, humidity, and an increase in the number of seasonal allergies.

The SAD during winter is commonly felt from November to March. During these months you’ll find that you’re craving more comfort foods high in carbohydrates than usual. When you eat comfort foods, they increase the production of serotonin in your brain. Hence, you feel a bit happy while consuming them during the winter months.

What Is the Best Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

vitamin D

Sunlight is a source of vitamin D, Credit: Pixabay


There is no single treatment for SAD. To boost your mood and feel good overall, you can avail light therapy and counselling. You can also eat a healthy diet and get more physical activity, preferably outside. Both of these things will impart a good overall sense of well-being.

Are you wondering what vitamin is good for seasonal affective disorder? It is vitamin D. you can add more sources of vitamin D in your diet and go for morning walks when there is a considerable amount of sunlight. Alternately, you can also take vitamin D supplements if your diet lacks in it. You can also get melatonin supplements. They will help you sleep better. However, if you feel that you’re suffering from a sleep disorder like insomnia, it is best to get a doctor’s help.

Your body might take some time to adapt itself to the winter months. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but slowly, you’ll get used to it. SAD is temporary and is entirely treatable.

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