What to Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that only occurs at one time each year. Although this does affect some people in other seasons, the majority of sufferers deal with symptoms during the winter months. Some people believe that this change in mood that follows the change in the weather is due to deprivation of vitamin D from sunlight, since winter usually consists of dreary weather. This reduced sunlight may cause drops in serotonin, disrupt your circadian rhythm, or a disruption of your body’s melatonin levels.
Although many SAD symptoms are exhibited in sufferers of major depression, some SAD specific symptoms are craving foods heavy in carbohydrates, irritability, and oversleeping. Now, these all may sound like common behaviors for the teenagers in your life, so, do not jump to any conclusions just yet. Please remember that everyone has some bad days. However, if you or a loved one begin to feel down on a daily basis, that would be the time to seek help.
Common treatments for SAD include medications and psychotherapy, as do many mental health disorders. A technique that is unique to treating SAD is light therapy. This therapy uses a special light box to mimic natural sunlight. This light has been proven to cause a change of chemicals in the brain. Light therapy is unlike most other treatments because it rarely causes side effects.
SAD can be tough for anyone affected, but, the hardest part is often the diagnosis. Hopefully this information can help some of you that may be concerned.