SAD not like the emotion but DEFINITELY what some midwesterners feel when Fall starts to roll its pumpkin-y head around.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of seasonal depression that is linked to the levels of light that an individual receives as the days shorten.
SAD, like any mental health diagnoses, varies from person to person. Usually the symptoms come with the Fall season and start to dissipate by/around Spring.
Symptoms can include: low affect, loss of interest in daily activities, irritability, despair, guilt, feelings of worthlessness, etc. Individuals who experience SAD can also include: lack of energy, fatigue, sleep for longer periods and find it difficult to wake in the morning.
Since it is seasonal in nature, it can be difficult to diagnose. Treatments can include cognitive behavioral therapy, and some changes to lifestyle during peak times of diminished light. This could look like ordering a SAD light. When ordering a light it is important to look for:
• Provide an exposure to 10,000 lux of light
• Emit as little UV light as possible
Medication can also be used to treat SAD.
Cause and effect for the scientists out there:
Winter- melatonin (yes this occurs naturally in your body and isn’t just a delicious gummy vitamin) increases, serotonin production decreases, which can create a desire to stay in bed, craving carbs, and constant daytime drowsiness.
Summer- melatonin drops, serotonin increases, which leads to good sleep, our diet improves and so does our energy.
If you have any follow up questions, feel free to reach out or contact your pcp if you’d like to discuss medication!