Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder
The end of August signals the winding down of summer. It is a time of transition – long, warm days giving way to cooler temperatures. The lush green vegetation and blooms of the season begin to fade as the colors of autumn take center stage. For many, this is an easy and expected change. But for about five percent of the population it can lead to a case of the blues, a very real disorder known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
SAD literally does make you feel sad, depressed and lifeless. While this condition can most often affect people who live in places where summers are long and hot or where winters are long and cold – the fact is that the condition can be influenced by a simple change in season.
Less people suffer from spring and summer blues than those who are afflicted by significant mood changes during fall and winter. So, before fall arrives and rapidly turns to winter, here are a few tips to help you recognize the signs of SAD, and recommendations from health care experts to help treat the condition if you think you might be afflicted.
- Increased appetite with weight gain (weight loss is more common with other forms of depression)
- Increased sleep (too little sleep is more common with other forms of depression)
- Less energy and ability to concentrate
- Loss of interest in work or other activities
- Sluggish movements
- Social withdrawal
- Unhappiness and irritability that seems to have no reason
If you recognize any of these changes in your mood, consult your health care professional. Do not keep this to yourself. Speak to those closest to you, and confront the issue. Whether you choose medical treatment or lifestyle changes to help manage this condition, make sure that it is done under a doctor’s supervision.
- Light therapy
You may also want to consider these lifestyle changes:
- Create a lighter environment. Open windows, let sunlight in.
- Spend more time outdoors. Take frequent walks in a nearby park or find a public space where you can sit and take in the view.
- Start and exercise routinely. It helps with stress or a feeling of anxiety. Having a daily, bi-weekly or weekly routine keeps the mind active and re-energized – all of which helps to keep your focus on more pleasant things.
Risks are higher if you have a history of depression, bipolar disorder or other related issues. This condition is reported more often among women than men. If you have a family history of depression, you may be more prone.
Remember that having seasonal blues is a very real condition and one that is treatable.
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References: Mayo Clinic, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, PubMed Health, PsychCentral
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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