For many, the season of snow, ice and freezing cold is a welcome treat. A winter wonderland full of snowmen, icicles, and hand-knit scarves. For others, it is a months-long battle with fatigue, irritability and depression.
It’s kind of like the difference between this…
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as the Winter Blues, is a kind of depression that occurs at certain times of the year, usually during winter. (Go figure.)
SAD often affects people who live in climates with long winters, shorter days and long winter nights. It can also be caused by hormones or genetics, but it is most often associated with a lack of natural daylight.
The symptoms are pretty much the same as with regular depression. Sluggishness, weight gain, lack of interest in social activities and/or work and generally being irritable and grumpy. Doctors tend to rule out other forms of depression and ailments before diagnosing someone with SAD.
So, what do you do if you do suffer from SAD? Some doctors recommend antidepressants, light box therapies, and talk therapy. Other recommendations include long walks during daylight hours, maintaining an active social calendar, sitting near north-facing windows and changing your lights to natural daylight bulbs. It’s important to see a doctor and discuss with them the therapies that are right for you.
And remember…most people only experience SAD during the winter months. Once the spring flowers start popping up—you’ll be back to smiling!