Don't Feel SAD...
Posted on Tuesday, 6th Dec 2016
In the lead up to Christmas, this time of year is generally known as the party season and one to be merry...But for some, this time of year can feel difficult and stressful for all sorts of reasons. The change in weather can precipitate a number of anxieties which can affect our mood as the days get shorter, colder, often wetter and certainly darker.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is very common amongst people living in northern european countries, like the United Kingdom. As a nation we are often deprived of sunshine even in the summer months and here in the UK we often go into the winter months feeling not quite ready to be stuck indoors over the winter period for 3-4 months or so.
Lack of sunshine causes Vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to low mood, anxiety and depression, hence why SAD is often known as winter depression, winter blues or seasonal depression. SAD is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year can experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly during the winter months.
Symptoms of SAD
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.
So what can we do about it?
Treatments for SAD
A range of treatments are available for SAD. Your GP will recommend the most suitable treatment programme for you.
The main treatments are:
- lifestyle measures, including getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels
- light therapy – where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight
- talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling.
- antidepressant medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
.....break the silence before it breaks us....early intervention is the key to recovery