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What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder

Living With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, which is also known as SAD, is a type of depression. This type of depression is related to changes in the seasons. For most people with SAD, it has a schedule. It begins and ends at about the same times every year with the changes in the season. The most common season SAD occurs with is fall. With this type of SAD it starts in the fall and continues into the winter months. SAD also effects people in the spring or early summer, but it is rare.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Are you having feelings of depression most of the day, almost every day?
Do you feel hopeless or worthless, often questioning your purpose in life?
Do you have a low energy level on a daily basis?
Are you losing interest in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed?
Are you having trouble sleeping?
Are you experiencing changes in your appetite?
Are you experiencing changes in your weight?
Do you feel sluggish or agitated for no apparent reason?
Are you having trouble concentrating?
Are you having frequent thoughts of death or suicide?

These are all symptoms of SAD, but make sure these are only happening during certain seasons. SAD is also more common in women, but when it occurs in a male the symptoms are much more severe. Treatment for SAD includes light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications.

What Causes SAD?

Your biological clock or circadian rhythm can be effected by the amount of sunlight your body is getting. The less sun you are receiving, the more depression you face.

Serotonin, a brain chemical that affects your mood, is also effected by the amount of sunlight you receive.

Melatonin levels are also effected by the change in season. Melatonin plays a huge role in sleep patterns, as well as your mood.

Recently a blogger decided to explain her situation with this disorder in an article. Refinery29 is the alias she uses and she explains her emotions dealing with SAD. She states, “After years of questioning whether Seasonal Affective Disorder was a real condition, I realized that it was indifferent to my skepticism.” Refinery29 continues, “SAD doesn’t need you to believe it exists; it makes itself known.”

Refinery29 goes on to talk about how she would try to find ways to get rid of this disorder, but ultimately it failed. She states, “However, in past years, before I understood my seasonal affliction, I looked for other ways to rid myself of the emptiness.” Refinery29 continues, “I would try to exercise more, as if I could outrun the season. For the length of a 5k I was happy again, but the endorphins would be blunted shortly after; I was the fittest, most depressed version of myself that I can remember.”

Refinery29 also discusses the stigma that goes with SAD and how she would cover up her situation. She explained, “When students at my job ask about my bloodshot eyes, I assure them it is allergies.” She rationalized, “Allergies are convenient. Allergies are impersonal. Allergies are something that you can discuss with every person on the planet, without fear of discomfort or judgment.”

Although hiding this disorder may seem like an easy task, it can be very dangerous. Anyone with this SAD you seek help to fight this disorder.

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