3 Strategies To Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder
Does it seem like you are struggling with winter and fall? If you are used to the warmer months, it's perfectly normal for you to feel down. But if you routinely feel sad for no reason, have trouble sleeping and spend most of your days on the couch eating comfort food and binge -watching your favorite shows, you might be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What does SAD mean?
SAD, also called seasonal depression , is a form of depression that is usually experienced during the late fall when there is less sunlight and the days are shorter and colder. Seasonal depression can also happen in the summer, but it's much less common.
SAD affects millions. But it's more prevalent in women than in men. SAD also occurs more often in places that are further from the equator or where there is cloudiness.
To Handle the Signs Of Sad
Sometimes you might think that your mood is just normal and will get over it. SAD can be more severe than you think. SAD symptoms can include:
- When the seasons change, you may feel sad or have a severe mood swing.
- Insufficient energy
- You crave carbohydrates.
- Feeling frustrated, helpless, or hopeless.
- A loss of interest in pleasurable or sexual activities.
- Disorders in sleep such as insomnia, excessive sleeping or sleeping patterns that are difficult to manage .
- Thoughts about suicide or death.
SAD symptoms are more common in the autumn and winter. They tend to disappear during the warm months.
How To Fight Seasonal Depression
Scott Bea, PsyD psychologist, has some great suggestions to help you manage SAD.
Get an exercise program
People spend less time outdoors, which means that their physical activity levels decreases. Exercise could help you combat SAD if it is something you are experiencing.
Dr. Bea states, "Moving the body will compete against that tendency to become sluggish. It can also produce good brain chemical."
You might consider indoor activities you enjoy. Yoga or running on the treadmill might interest you. You can go snowshoeing or skiing if you feel more adventurous.
In the colder months, we tend to be more inclined to stay at home and to shut down. This leads to less interaction with others. Dr. Bea suggests connecting regularly with other people if this is you. Social interaction can help lift your spirits. This can help you to get out from under your head.
We can be motivated by creating a new social responsibility. SAD sufferers can benefit from any activity that allows them to engage in other activities than self-awareness.
Experts suspect that SAD may be caused by changes in sunlight exposure. Although bright light therapy has been shown to help with SAD in a study, larger researches are needed.
A device with white fluorescent light tubes and a screen to block ultraviolet rays is used for light therapy. The intensity of light therapy can vary from 5,000 to 10,000lux. Dr. Bea states that many medical professionals suggest treating SAD with 10,000 lux of light every day for thirty minutes. Although it can generally be safely and easily tolerated by the majority of people, it should not be attempted for certain medical conditions.
Because it can make these conditions even worse, light therapy isn't recommended for people who are diabetic or have severe retinal damage.
Dr. Bea recommends that you eat a balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals.
Healthy eating is a way to have more energy, even if your body craves sweets or starchy foods.
If the depression sticks around for more than two weeks, talk with your doctor. You may need to consider psychotherapy and medication.
When Should You Get Seasonal Depression Help?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, to be diagnosed with SAD, the following criteria have to be met:
A person must have symptoms of major depression or exhibit symptoms of SAD. Episodes of depression must occur during specific seasons for at least two consecutive years. SAD symptoms can be experienced every year. Symptoms have to be much more frequent than other episodes of depression experienced at other times of the year during a person's lifetime. If these statements apply to you, your healthcare provider or a mental health professional can develop a treatment plan to help you beat seasonal depression.