Winter is in full swing, and while it brings good times (you know, holidays, snow, hot cocoa), it can also seriously mess with you. If the days getting shorter bums you out and saps your energy, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Wikipedia defines it as, “aÂ mood disorder in which people who have normalÂ mental health throughout most of the year experienceÂ depressive symptoms in the winter or summer,Â spring or autumn year after year. In theÂ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is ‘a specifier of major depression’.”
While no direct cause for SAD has been found, Discovery.com states that the condition is suspected to have something to do with the lack of light the winter months bring, and the ways that this affects the levels of melatonin and serotonin in our bodies. Antidepressants and light therapy have been fairly successful in treatments – you can even get huge light boxes to put in your house specifically to help with SAD! If you can’t get a light box, get as many sunbeams as you can…get up early, open all the shades, and flush out those gloomies. Make sure you’re also getting proper nutrition and taking your vitamins.
If you think you have SAD, check with your doctor. You can also call (502) 452-6341 for a counseling appointment with one of our JFCS counselors, who are super nice. The symptoms of this condition are similar enough that your malaise could be general depression, or an indicator of a more complex psychological problem. Plus, checking with your doctor or counselor gets you out of the house and into the sunshine 🙂 Â Spring is on the way, but you don’t have to tough it out till then!