seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - SIGNS & Symptoms


This time of year, the leaves have all fallen off the trees and the days seem to be drearier. As the temperature drops, some are getting excited about the winter festivities and the idea of mugs of hot chocolate and cozy nights by the fire giving them warm and fuzzy feelings.

Others, however, can notice that this change in season brings a different type of feeling. Winter might leave them feeling sad and they may write it off as a simple case of the winter blues. These feelings might actually be the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder or more commonly referred to as SAD.

What is SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder can also be known as seasonal depression. It is a common problem for many Americans where they face feelings of winter depression or intense sadness when the seasons change.  

The most common SAD is noticeable during the fall and winter months. In order to be diagnosed with this disorder, you need to show the symptoms of major depression for 2 years or more and these symptoms must coincide with the seasons.

Is SAD more common in women?


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are four times more prone to SAD than men. Even so, this isn’t a disorder that is rare.  

seasonal affective disorder

...over 19 million people dealing with significant SAD and over 57 million people with the milder form"

In fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, SAD affects as much as 6% of all Americans and as much as 20% of Americans suffer from a milder form of SAD. That is over 19 million people dealing with significant SAD and over 57 million people with the milder form.

Seasonal depression is more common in people who already suffer from depression, have a family history of SAD, or suffer from bipolar disorder.

Seasonal depression also affects more people who are further away from the equator, since the winter weather is more extreme in these parts of the world.

Symptoms of Winter Onset SAD

Do you feel like the colder months affect your mood? You might have seasonal depression or SAD. If you suffer from several of these symptoms, talk with your doctor to determine if you should seek treatment which could mean less winter blues feelings for you. Symptoms are,

  • Extreme sadness for most of every day
  • Loss of interest in fun activities
  • Oversleeping
  • Guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness feeling
  • Lack of energy, sluggishness
  • Irritability, agitation
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Cravings for high carb foods
seasonal affective disorder

Treatment Options for SAD

If you are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, there are treatment options that could reduce the feeling of the winter blues. Talk to your doctor to find out which would be best for your specific case. 

Some of these treatments are relatively easy to put into practice and more than worth the time and money.

Light Treatment- It is believed that the main reason for SAD is the difference in sunlight and daily hours. Doctors have found great benefits in using light therapy with patients suffering from winter depression. Patients are treated with a few hours a day of sitting in front of a special light box that emits light that mimics natural outdoor light.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy- This is a common treatment for patients with any depression symptoms and has been proven to be just as helpful with seasonal depression. This type of treatment involves training the brain to replace negative thoughts and habits with more positive ones.

Medication- Your doctor might prescribe some medications to help you treat the symptoms of SAD is they are severe. Which medication will depend on several factors but they are meant to help lessen the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Natural Treatments

If you are deficient in nutrients your mood can be significantly affected during winter months. A lack of sunshine is often taken for granted and is easy to tackle so consider some mood support supplementation. See some options you could try below,

seasonal affective disorder

To help you have a better mood — SAM e or s adenosyl methionine can be an awesome addition to your dietary intake. It really helps get all the right things happening for us upstairs. Take s-adenosyl methionine the all-important brain food formula for the metabolism and balance of important neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine which means superior communication between brain cells.


To make up for the lack of sunshine—Vitamin D3 is great for your mood it helps to improve your immune system and increases your calcium absorption. Combine this with K2 and you have a real powerhouse supplement. Calcium going to the wrong places can be a problem and is a leading health issue which can mean unhealthy arteries, joints and kidney stones.


To enhance the benefits of SAM e and Vitamin D3+K2 Rhodiola can be a great way to chilling find more calming relaxation. Rhodiola will help you lower important cortisol levels so you can cope adapt and reduce your stress levels and at the time give you some more energy which is always lacking in these situations.


We have all the right amounts of ingredients of the above formulas and we have you covered,


Some Helpful Tips

You can make positive changes in your environment and habits even before you ever see a doctor. 

In order to make your home less dreary and combat winter depression, make sure you do your best to make your home as bright and sunny as possible. Open your blinds, invest in skylights, trim back bushes or trees that might block sun from entering your windows and regularly sit in the brightest spot of your home. 

Make it a habit to take time to go outside during the sunniest part of the day. This will not only help you with SAD disorder but also give you needed vitamin D. 

Exercise is a great way to combat any depression symptoms. It increases the release of endorphins and relieve stress and anxiety. Feeling fit and strong can also help your confidence.

Seasonal depression isn’t something to be ashamed of and can be treated if you get the needed help. So, don’t let winter blues take over your mood instead create a plan, follow our simple tips, and supplement any nutrient deficiencies which may be very helpful for you. Plan and live your life and make your dreams a reality. 

References

  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml 
  2. https://familydoctor.org/condition/seasonal-affective-disorder/                          3. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Barbara_Parry/publication/19279939_Antidpressant_effects_of_light_in_seasonal_affective_disorder/links/0c9605196da9355f31000000/Antidpressant-effects-of-light-in-seasonal-affective-disorder.pdf    4. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=usuhs 

Crystal Amelco
Guest Writer. Crystal started out as a writer but fell in love with fitness and made it her career She is an expert in diet, weight loss, nutrition and fitness. She has a Master Trainer Certification and is a former fitness bootcamp owner.

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