Winter is here meaning the days are getting shorter, darker and gloomier. Bad weather is often affiliated with bad moods but when this occurs year after year SAD may be the reason why.
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a term for periods of depression that occur with changes of seasons. Seasonal Affective Disorder is most closely associated with winter and sufferers begin to notice changes in mood beginning in late fall until early spring.
Symptoms include decreased concentration, increased appetite, weight gain (whereas some other forms of depression can lead to weight loss), social withdrawal, moodiness, and fatigue.
Though some people write it off as simple moodiness, SAD is a real form of depression that’s dependent on a person’s hormonal state, seasonal characteristics like temperature, and exposure to natural light (which can influence the body’s production of melatonin).
Research has found it’s more prevalent in regions that have more intense and longer winters.If you are feeling down this winter here are some official tips to try kick that SAD into summer.
Spending time outdoors helps ease symptoms of SAD. Try to get outside within two hours of waking up. Whether it’s cloudy or sunny, spending some time in the daylight can be a big help.
Bright light therapy uses a very bright fluorescent light as prescribed by a doctor. The user sits about one to two feet away from the light allowing it to penetrate the eyes without looking at it directly. This is done for thirty to sixty minutes a day. Some users see an improvement in symptoms after a few days. If it’s going to work at all—which it does for three out of four people—it will work after four weeks.
Talk to Someone
One study found cognitive behavioural therapy was just as effective as light therapy in treating SAD. (A combination of talk therapy and light therapy together was also effective.)
Take Vitamin D
When the sun is in the sky for shorter periods of time, we are exposed to less of it. When ultraviolet B comes into contact with our skin, it sets off a chain of reactions that lead to the production of vitamin D. Taking vitamin D supplements is one way to avoid this deficiency.
Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of moderate, nonseasonal depression. And studies suggest a combination of exercise and light therapy can also help treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
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