Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a condition that affects people during cold weather. According to WHO (World Health Organization), symptoms include loss of focus. Feeling guilt and low self-worth, accompanied by thoughts of hopelessness about the future. You might also have suicidal thoughts. This will change your sleeping habits and the way you eat. Common symptoms also include disrupted sleep patterns. Some of the reasons this condition happens is because of the shorter days and less sunlight. Both sunlight and length of the day are related to chemical changes in our brain and severe changes can alter the brain’s chemistry. Our brain understands that sunlight means time to be up and active. When sunlight is not available or goes away really quickly it causes an imbalance in the brain.
Treatments for SAD
Light Therapy: Also called phototherapy, light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood. This is the first line of therapy and usually is very effective.
Psychotherapy: Another treatment option, where you talk to a professional psychologist to learn how to cope. They give you tools and management skills to deal with the everyday challenges. This way you have someone to go to when you need them.
Medication: Some people benefit from medicine as well; however, the above-mentioned treatments work for most. If you have suicidal thoughts or other options have failed do not hesitate to do whatever you need to do to get help.
Step Into the Sun: If you think you are suffering from Seasonal Affective disorder here are a few things you can try right now. Get more sunlight. It can start with as little as opening the curtains every morning. Try to squeeze in a workout. If you have a desk job, then you can learn some stretching exercises to do at your desk. If you are at home, put on some music and move to the beat while you get your chores done.It is scientifically proven that an individual can change their state of mind if they practice self-conditioning. Train your mind to only think positively about yourself. Whenever negative thoughts come into your head, just push them away, and say NO assertively. Remind yourself that you do not need to feel guilty about it just as you would not feel guilty about missing work or not being able to get out of bed if you had a 104-degree fever or a broken leg.