Now that the holidays are over and the kids are back in school we are all faced with several more months of winter and hibernating inside. With this comes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for some individuals.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, beginning and ending at about the same time every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses. Some common symptoms include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleep
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD include:
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy
Symptoms specific to summer-onset SAD include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Agitation or anxiety
It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, seek help. This is important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort, or you feel hopeless or think of suicide.
And remember, seeking help for your mental health is a sign of care and empowerment for YOURSELF!!
Lisa Gray MSW, LCSW
Lisa M. Gray