Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depression type that strikes you every year around a similar time. It generally follows a seasonal pattern. You can experience this beginning and ending with a change in seasons every year. However, just like normal depression it feeds on all of your energy and makes you sensitive to even the smallest thing. Most of the time it commences around fall and proceeds to the winter months. Have you heard of Winter Blues? It is nothing but seasonal affective disorder. However, it is less frequent during spring or even during the onset of summer. So how do you tell if you have it?
Signs that say you are Silently Suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder
Having a hard time Concentrating
The symptoms are similar to depression symptoms including difficulty with concentration and loss of appetite. It makes you feel as if you had a lot to eat while you may not. You may generally feel sluggish and tired even after sleeping for a good number of hours. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can eventually make it hard for you to keep your mental focus on one particular thing. You may feel lost in the conversations people have around you. You may struggle to maintain your normal pace while completing even a small task. Further, all you want to do is sit alone with a plethora of thoughts fighting a battle in your head.
Physical Pain Like Body Aches
People with seasonal affective disorder frequently complain of experiencing various physical pain. Winters moreover comes across as the worst time of the year that comes biting at them. They also feel unwell all the time with persistent body aches, headaches along with other infections. It decreases your immune system and the flu certainly seems to follow you all season long and sticks like your shadow.
Runs in Genes
If somebody in your family has a history of Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression, then you are at risk. The National Institute of Health claims if your first-degree relative or parent or even a sibling suffers from SAD you have all the chances of developing it. Generally, 15 percent of people who battle SAD have a family member who is fighting the same.
Pulling back from Social Meetups
You may agree to catch up with your friends or attend a party. But as soon as you have to go, you feel overwhelmed and not too friendly. SAD is likely to make you keep to yourself, and sleep as much as you can. As a result, you don’t want to go out and engage with people in conversation or visit friends and relatives. You simply want to be left alone.
Consequently, your cravings for sugary stuff and starchy foods increases by an alarming level. This is because when you consume these foods, your body produces Serotonin to comfort you. Beware because the consumption of these foods won’t make you feel comfortable for long. Initially, you will feel energized but as soon as the blood sugar level crashes, fatigue and irritation kicks in. Leaving you with the urge to consume more junk which ultimately leads to gaining weight.
Have Self-Harm Intentions
Generally many cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder take horrid turns where people have thoughts of harming themselves. The depression is so intense that they think of committing suicide and even crave for death. So be watchful and approach your closest ones for help if you think you can relate with such thoughts.
Remember that seasonal affective disorder has treatments which can be suggested if you reach out to a doctor. The primary therapies often involve taking antidepressants, undergoing light treatment and psychotherapy. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene, going out for walks every day even when it is cloudy, doing aerobic exercises can also help you or your loved ones with SAD. You can also take the aid of the Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp for improved indoor lightning to lift your mood.
Watch out for these Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms which are specific to different seasons.
SAD Symptoms in Fall and Winter
This usually commences with the onset of winter and also called as winter depression. Some of the signs you can observe are shared below:
- If you are likely oversleeping and feeling tired most of the time.
- Constantly craving for food rich in carbohydrate; noticing an abnormal change in your appetite.
- If you gain weight over less time.
- Noticing a constant drop in energy with body ache and heaviness in legs and your arms.
SAD Symptoms in Spring and Summer
You can notice the following changes with the onset of Summer. This is also referred to as Summer depression by people.
- A drop in your appetite and cravings.
- Losing weight over less time.
- Struggling with anxiety or feeling agitated often.
- Dealing with insomnia; that is finding it hard to sleep.
Tips for Self Coping
In order to effectively manage SAD stick to the following steps and practice them religiously.
Learn Stress Management
Learn techniques to manage stress better. Depression, overeating, detrimental behavior generally arise when you fail to handle the pressure.
Abide by your treatment plan
Be regular in attending your scheduled therapy appointments. If you are taking medication or have been subscribed a physical exercise plan stick to it.
Be more attentive towards yourself
If you want to feel rested catch up on your sleep but do not run away from your responsibilities. People with SAD have a strong urge to go into hibernation so be extra cautious for your own sake. Give weight to healthy life choices such as eating right and exercising. Turning to drugs or alcohol in search of relief is surely not a solution.
Connect with People
Socializing with your favorite people can give your mood a healthy boost. Meeting people may come across as a challenge, but you’ll have their support and have somebody to share your feelings.
Study these signs and symptoms carefully to know if you or your loved one can be silently suffering. The symptoms can differ for different people. Some can experience mild symptoms while for others it can be severe. However, you don’t need to panic as SAD is entirely treatable. To have control of your life we recommend you seek help daily and develop a fitness routine. This can boost your mood and combat the disorder.