Are you Feeling SAD?

    Are you feeling SAD?  It’s December. In this part of the world, that means it’s time for the delights of cozy sweaters, hot chocolate, and festive lights.  Along with those pleasures come shorter days, a lot of grey skies, and some unpleasant weather (as I am writing this post, the skies are overcast, a cold mix of rain and snow is falling, and it is a generally miserable day weather-wise).

    And, for a certain percentage of the population, it also means the onset of “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD.

    The Winter Blues

    Are you Feeling SAD?

    You may have heard of “winter blues.” It is not uncommon in the northern hemisphere to experience some form of winter “blahs.” You just know that you will likely have a day or two where you feel unmotivated and decide to curl up with a blanket, some carbs, and binge on Netflix.
    SAD is different. SAD is a specific subtype of depression. For the purposes of this post, we are discussing SAD that makes a winter appearance but please be aware that SAD can also occur in summer.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder

    Are you Feeling SAD?

    Seasonal Affective Disorder is not just a milder or lighter form of major depression (as some persist in believing).  SAD is a subtype of depression that appears as a seasonal recurrence over at least two years (so you’ve noticed the symptoms appearing at the same or similar time of year for at least two annual occurrences).

    It’s not enough to feel “down” or “blue” – if the symptoms you experience are disrupting your life (your work, your social life, your family life, your hobbies, etc.…), then it’s time to seek professional help.

    How do I Know? What are the Symptoms?

    Winter SAD Symptoms:

    lethargy and fatigue (low energy level)

    social withdrawal

    withdrawal from friends and family

    inability to focus or concentrate

    sadness, anxiety, and despair

    change in appetite with increased cravings for pasta, breads, pastries, sugary foods

    weight gain

    headaches

    irritability

    increased sleep

    What Can I Do?

    Are you Feeling SAD?

    There are four main treatments for SAD, which may be used independently or in conjunction with each other in various combinations.

    Medication

    Light therapy

    Psychotherapy/Counselling

    Vitamin D

    As with any other illness, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another, so an open dialogue with your medical and mental health care providers is essential in finding the proper treatment for you.

    The good news?

    Are you Feeling SAD?

    With the right combination of treatments, you can combat SAD and enjoy the winter season.

    For more great tips on your health and well being, click here.

    Are you Feeling SAD?

    Written By: Jane Laker

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