As autumn transitions into winter, the waning daylight can trigger the condition known as seasonal affective disorder. SAD is different than simply feeling listless, or unmotivated to leave your home because it’s cold and grey. It’s a type of depression distinguished by seasonality. People who experience SAD disorder may feel … Read More
seasonal affective disorder
As fall transitions to winter, the weather cools in much of the country and the days grow shorter and darker. Many people find that their mood darkens along with the days. They feel sad and hopeless, want to do little more than sleep, and barely have enough energy to get through their days. People who feel down during the winter months have a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
Seasonal affective disorder isn?t the same as the ?winter blues,? a mild feeling of sadness that coincides with the winter months. It?s a real medical diagnosis, with symptoms that are severe enough to affect a person?s day-to-day life. Seasonal affective disorder is more common in northern climates than in southern climates. Women are more likely than men to have this condition, particularly if they have family members with seasonal affective disorder or depression.
Experts don?t know exactly what makes some people depressed during the winter months. They suspect seasonal affective disorder stems from a disruption to the body?s internal clock, called the circadian rhythm. Shorter days interrupt the production of melatonin, a natural chemical that helps us fall asleep.
Even though seasonal affective disorder typically lasts only as long as the season, it does need to be treated. Like other forms of depression, it can get worse over time, and can even lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.
One way to relieve sadness during the winter is with light therapy. Patients sit in front of a light box every morning for about 30 minutes. The light exposure can help reset circadian rhythms, and relieve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. For some people, light therapy isn?t enough. They also need talk therapy to combat the negative thoughts that are preoccupying their mind.
If you’ve been feeling down in the dumps for a while, and especially if you have thoughts of suicide, it’s time to visit your doctor or a mental health care professional. (If you’re feeling really hopeless, don’t hesitate to visit your nearest emergency room or urgent care center.) Most of … Read More
The importance of the neurotransmitter serotonin in affecting mood has been widely acknowledged in numerous studies linking low brain levels of this key chemical with depression, anxiety, and irritability. Now, scientists are reporting another significant role the neurotransmitter plays in the brain—that of promoting memory and cognition. Inadequate brain levels … Read More
Seasonal depression usually begins as soon as the weather cools and the days shorten, around September or October, and lasts until it warms up again, often in April. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most often seen in women, although men also battle it. It has no age limits. Many of … Read More
Wondering how to stop depression, and how to prevent yourself from falling into feelings of hopelessness? One solution proven in studies to help: exercise. Research reveals that what’s good for the body is also good for the mind. When you go for a run or a swim, your brain releases … Read More
People with social anxiety disorder (SAD)—also called social phobia—have an intense fear of social situations, especially if they believe they’ll be judged or scrutinized by others. So, while going to a party may produce what feels like anxiety, a party in which the person is the guest of honor might … Read More
Here in Seattle, I really started to feel the effects of our dwindling daylight hours in autumn. And for weeks now, it’s been dark when I go to meet my exercise partner in the early mornings, and the days are becoming cloudier and rainier. For about 10 percent of people … Read More
Everyone feels down in the dumps sometimes. Maybe you’ve had a bad day, bad week, or a bad month. Maybe your spouse left you, you hate your job, and your best friend is moving away. These are all good reasons to feel bad. But is it possible your feelings go … Read More
It’s not always easy for us to determine whether we’re simply down in the dumps or suffering from a form of depression. If you’ve struggled with that question, consider the depression symptoms that are most common. The list includes: Persistent sadness or low mood (some people feel more numb than … Read More
I live in Seattle, where the clouds hide the sun for most of the winter (and much of the spring and fall, too). So far this year we have had some particularly dark days - record setting dark days, in fact. Many people are greatly affected by lack of light … Read More