It’s that time of the year again. Depending on where you live, the leaves have started to change color. But while the leaves are transitioning from green to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, some people are transitioning to not so bright emotions. This may be due to Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD.
What Do You Need to Know About Sad?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by depression that occurs with the changing of the seasons. Most notably, the transition into winter months, from late fall to the start of spring. However, SAD is also known to occur during other seasonal transitions including spring to summer. Whatever the case may be, if depression during specific months seems to be a pattern year after year, then you may want to consider treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Causes & Treatments
SAD can affect anyone, but (especially for winter onset SAD) it’s more common among those living further north or south of the equator. While those close to the equator experience a more consistent amount of sunlight throughout the year, those further away from it experience shorter daylight hours during winter months.
This change in sunlight messes up with a person’s circadian rhythm. Plus it can lead to melatonin imbalance in the body. Both of these things can disrupt sleep patterns, mood, and energy levels, leading to depression. Less sunlight also causes serotonin levels to decrease as well as leads to lower production of vitamin D. Not to mention, having more darkness and more time indoors because of it, doesn’t help either.
But there is hope.
For decades, light therapy has been used to treat SAD. So has psychotherapy specially adapted for SAD. Finally, vitamin D supplements may have some positive effects as well (1).
So, are you sad because of SAD? If so, know that it’s not a hopeless situation. It is possible to not only be ready for the change of the season but also embrace it.