What is Seasonal Affective Disorder

by Vanya Sharma last updated -

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When you wake up in the middle of winter and feel a gray pall fall over your life, as though you’ve lost all energy or motivation to do anything productive or pleasant, you may be suffering from symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The seasonal affective disorder is a mental health condition, also called the winter or summer sadness, characterized by a normal mental health pattern for most of the year, but a stark drop-off in happiness and energy levels in either the summer or winter. It happens at around the same time every year. Summer seasonal affective disorder typically includes high anxiety, but most symptoms include excess sleep and lethargy, a lack of energy and depressive symptoms. While during the winter seasonal affective disorder, one may experience different symptoms. While this was at one point disregarded by many physicians as a mood disorder, and not a commonly recognized or diagnosed condition, it is now more widely respected and is known to affect up to 10% of the population in certain regions.

Symptoms

There are many symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, they include the following:

  • Feeling depressed for long durations
  • Feeling low on energy levels
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Oversleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and anger
  • Feeling suicidal
  • Tiredness

a woman sitting in front of a light therapy box with her eyes closed in

Causes

There can be various reasons behind a seasonal affective disorder, and they may differ between winter and summer SAD. Let’s take a look at them below.

  • Biological clock
  • Sunlight
  • Seratonin levels
  • Melatonin levels
  • Family history
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Living far off the equator

While traditional treatments of this disorder are widely suggested by doctors and mental health professionals, there are also many natural remedies for a seasonal affective disorder that can help to boost your spirits. If not treated it can lead to social withdrawal, problems at work or school, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders such as anxiety and more.

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About the Author

Vanya is a passionate writer with interest in the field of health, nutrition, culture, and lifestyle. She wants to spread awareness about mental health and how to tackle it. Apart from work, she spends her time reading books, watching movies, listening to music, and sometimes just collecting her thoughts. One may often find her interacting with nature and its various aspects.

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