Do you find yourself wanting to hibernate your way through winter? Withdrawing from friends or family, sleeping more than normal, losing interest in activities you normally love, and having low energy could be signs that you are dealing with more than cold temperatures. These are all signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a type of major depression that comes on seasonally.
People impacted by SAD typically report symptoms starting in Fall and easing in Spring/Summer. While many people experience a shift in mood at the changing of seasons, SAD is often more serious than the winter blues and can impact people’s everyday lives. The most common symptoms on SAD include:
- Increased sleep and daytime drowsiness
- Loss of interest and pleasure in activities formerly enjoyed
- Social withdrawal and increased sensitivity to rejection
- Irritability and anxiety
- Feelings of guilt and hopelessness
- Fatigue, or low energy level
- Decreased sex drive
- Decreased ability to focus or concentrate
- Trouble thinking clearly
- Increased appetite, especially for sweets and carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Physical problems, such as headaches
SAD impacts women more than men, typically begins in young adulthood, and is also more common in Northern areas of the world where there is less sunlight during the winter months. People who have already been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder are also more susceptible to SAD.
If you think you may have SAD, you don’t have to suffer through the rest of the winter months. Be sure to contact your healthcare provider here at Horizon Family Medical Group. You have many options available for treatment, including light therapy, talk therapy, vitamin D, or other medications. (Although much more rare, some people also suffer from Summer SAD.)