Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.
Like any other disorder, there are a few symptoms that can indicate you need to seek professional help. Here you have a few listed:
Agitation or anxiety
Hypersensitivity to rejection
Appetite changes (craving for carbohydrates).
Experts have not found one specific cause for SAD but have identified a few factors based on lack of sunlight that play a role:
Seasonal changes and increased darkness can affect your melatonin levels and result in sleep pattern changes and changes in mood.
Lack of sunlight can have effects on your biological clock, changing your body’s natural rhythm triggering symptoms of depression.
Lack of sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels in the brain which can trigger depression.
What to do? First of all, we have to decide whether we are so affected by the symptoms that it is actually interfering with our normal life.
Once we decide it is, we should make an appointment with our GP to run some blood tests to rule out physical health problems. There are not specific diagnostics tests for SAD.
The treatment options are:
Alternatively, there are natural approaches that can work parallelly to the traditional ones and obtain good results.
Aromatherapy: a variety of essential oils have been shown to decrease depression symptoms.
Vitamin D: significantly improved depression symptoms in a number of studies.
In addition to incorporating medical and alternative treatments for preventing and coping with SAD, patients can also:
Take every opportunity to be outdoors possible
Take winter vacations in warmer, sunnier climates
Increase their natural light in their homes by opening curtains and trimming low-lying branches
Painting interior walls in light colours
If you would like to be assessed by one of our therapist, book an initial 15 minutes online appointment for free!