Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness
Winter is almost upon us, and the holiday season has begun. This time of year, especially now combined with an ongoing pandemic, could make for a very stressful time for those who might be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the toll-free TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Source: NIH - National Institute of Mental Health
"Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. If you have noticed significant changes in your mood and behavior whenever the seasons change, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression.
In most cases, SAD symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer; this is known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression. Some people may experience depressive episodes during the spring and summer months; this is called summer-pattern SAD or summer depression and is less common."
What are the signs and symptoms of SAD?
"SAD is not considered a separate disorder but is a type of depression characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern, with symptoms lasting about 4 to 5 months per year. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of SAD include those associated with major depression, and some specific symptoms that differ for winter-pattern and summer-pattern SAD. Not every person with SAD will experience all of the symptoms listed below."
Symptoms of major depression may include:
Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
Experiencing changes in appetite or weight
Having problems with sleep
Feeling sluggish or agitated
Having low energy
Feeling hopeless or worthless
Having difficulty concentrating
Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
For winter-pattern SAD, additional specific symptoms may include:
Overeating, particularly with a craving for carbohydrates
Social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”)
Click here to continue reading more about SAD from the National Institute of Mental Health
Click below for more Information and Resources:
WebMD: Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Mayo Clinic: Seasonal Affective Disorder
Cleveland Clinic: Could the Pandemic Make Your Seasonal Depression Worse?