About this time every year, many people suffer a type of depression that affects them mostly during the winter. These episodes of depression may recur at the same time each year, and are sometimes known as winter depression or the winter blahs. The technical name for this type of depression is SAD Syndrome (or Seasonal Affective Disorder).
As someone who has struggled with SAD for many years, I understand how frustrating the symptoms can be to those of us who would otherwise enjoy living in cold weather climates. While it is possible to experience depression in the summer time, and the symptoms are similar to depression, SAD generally occurs on a seasonal basis typically between October and April due to the fact that the body is not getting as much sunlight as it is used to during the rest of the year.
According to WebMD, the symptoms of SAD can include the following:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low energy and fatigue
- Reduced interest in daily activities, especially social activities
- Moodiness (depressed, sad, or unusually quiet)
- Increased appetite
- Cravings for complex carbohydrates such as pasta and bread
- Weight gain
- Increased sleep
- Loss of interest in sex
There are a number of ways to combat SAD including light therapy, antidepressants, and counseling. I know several people who have had good results using a light source for a half hour or so a day, usually first thing in the morning.
I’ve investigated a number of products related to light therapy and am including a link below in case you are interested in taking a look at a few options.
Struggling with SAD every winter is extremely unpleasant. While some people only have mild symptoms, there are others who fall into severe depression and they are not always able to come back to their usual self during the summer. Thus the struggle begins again the next fall and they go deeper into depression.
You should talk to your primary care provider to see what options may be open to you. Seasonal Affective Disorder is similar to the Sundown Syndrome experienced by many elderly men and women, and some of the same options can help them as well.
Listed below are links for further information about Seasonal Affective Disorder. Hopefully, you will be able to receive the relief you need if you have been struggling with this syndrome. There is help out there, so do not feel like you have to struggle every year by yourself. Check out the resources and contact your primary care physician.