For most people, the loss of daylight isn’t part of the holiday season to look forward to.
After the time reset thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time, many of us who work the traditional 9 to 5 end our days with an already dark commute home, the sun having set half an hour before turning off.
Shorter days combined with longer, darker and often colder nights understandably dampen the spirits of many, leaving us tired and longing for the milder days of spring and summer.
While feeling jittery is certainly not uncommon during these times of less sunlight, the mood swings go much further for about 5% of the US population who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD.
Although this condition is quite widespread, it comes with a number of quite serious symptoms, many of which can lead to disruptions in relationships, work life and the ability to function on a daily basis. Those who may suspect or know they suffer from AS are encouraged to seek professional help, as this disorder has both life-changing consequences and many courses of treatment to alleviate symptoms.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about the US.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
According to Kimberly E. Kleinman, senior psychologist at New York University-Presbyterian/Columbia Irving Medical Center, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern. Most commonly associated with winter and fall, SAD usually occurs and ends around the same time each year for those affected.
“Most importantly, people with SAD tend to experience mood swings and depression-like symptoms in the fall and winter when there is less sunlight and it usually improves by spring,” Kleinman told USA TODAY. “It is important to note that it is possible to have SAD during the summer, but it is far less common.
Shorter days and less sunlight are believed to cause chemical changes in the brain, including increased production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is linked to symptoms of depression.
SAD is a subcategory of depressive disorder, meaning that the symptoms of seasonal depression generally align with those under the broader umbrella of depression. The disorder is more than just the “winter blues,” however, and is a persistent and consistent form of clinical depression that occurs every year during the season.
Gabrielle Union talks about menopause:Gabrielle Union defies the stigma of menopause and warns of the deadly risks of silence
Who experiences SAD and what causes it?
There is no universally accepted definitive cause of SAD. However, an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by US annually, and women are four times more likely than men to receive a formal diagnosis of US. Younger people, generally between the ages of 20 and 30, are also more likely to be recognized as having SAD.
“Although it is not fully understood what causes SAD, less sunlight and shorter days are thought to be related to chemical changes in the brain, most notably serotonin and melatonin,” Kleinman said. “Research shows that people with SAD can have reduced activity of serotonin, which helps regulate mood. It can also be caused by too much melatonin, which causes sleepiness. The body naturally produces more melatonin when it’s dark – when the days are shorter and darker, more melatonin is produced .”
While there is no complete answer, some common contributing factors are thought to exist, including:
- Low vitamin D it can happen when someone doesn’t get enough vitamins through diet or exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is a factor in the production of serotonin, one of the “happy” chemicals in the brain.
- Pre-existing mental health conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or other mood disorders. They may be exasperated by factors related to the US.
- Family history and genetic factors can play a role. As with many other mental health disorders, having family members who also suffer from depression and/or SAD may indicate that you are more likely to experience these and similar conditions.
- Environmental factors such as living further from the equator where sunlight is dramatically reduced in winter can increase the occurrence of SAD.
- Age and gender are relevant to diagnosis rates. Women and young adults are more likely to be recognized as having SAD.
- Chemical levels in our bodies help determine our mood. Too much or too little melatonin (the sleep chemical) and serotonin (the mood chemical) can have a dramatic effect on how we feel. In winter, the lack of sunlight can affect the production of both of these.
- Disruptions to your biological clock or your circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep, can cause you to feel tired and in a bad mood. Because our bodies take cues from our environment to dictate our sleep-wake cycles, the amount of sunlight we’re exposed to affects our internal clock.
Homeless vets find help in Houston:For Houston’s homeless veterans, a converted hotel offers refuge and hope
Symptoms of USA
The symptoms of SAD overlap with other forms of depression and a number of other mental health conditions, meaning that a professional diagnosis is necessary to definitively determine whether a person is suffering from seasonal depression.
The most common symptoms return and then improve around the same time each year.
According to the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine, the most common symptoms include:
- Feel sluggish, tired or lack energy during the day.
- Increased need for sleep or sleeping longer and more often than usual.
- You feel sad or depressed most days.
- Loss of interest and pleasure in activities you usually enjoy.
- Social withdrawal and isolation, increased irritability and anxiety.
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and hopelessness.
- Decreased sex drive.
- Decreased ability to focus or concentrate, trouble thinking clearly.
- Increased appetite, especially for sweets and carbohydrates.
- Gaining weight.
- Headaches, aches and other physical symptoms.
- In the case of spring or summer depression, the symptoms can be reversed in the form of insomnia, decreased appetite and weight loss.
Depression can affect many aspects of a person’s life, leading to consequences such as social withdrawal and strained relationships, problems functioning at school or work, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, impulsive decision-making, self-medication through substance abuse, and the onset or worsening of other mental states. health issues.
“Like all forms of depression, SAD can be associated with more serious symptoms such as frequent (almost daily) thoughts of worthlessness, guilt, and depressed mood,” Kleinman said. “Depression can also be associated with recurrent thoughts of death, suicide or self-harm.”
If you experience any of these symptoms, Kleinman urged, see your doctor immediately, visit your local emergency room or call 988 Lifeline 24/7, a free and confidential crisis support and resource.
Treatments for seasonal depression
As with other forms of depression, there is no one definitive “cure” or treatment for SAD. Getting help for any mental health problem usually involves a consultation with your care team to determine what combination of treatment and support solutions is best for you.
“If anyone suspects they may be affected by US, I recommend seeing a doctor to be evaluated,” Kleinman said. “The provider will be able to understand the patient’s medical history and personalize the treatment plan to best treat the individual’s needs … it is important to note that usually a combination of treatments is most effective.”
Symptom management will look different from individual to individual, but there are several interventions that are commonly used to treat SAD patients:
- Psychotherapy including commonly used forms of “talk therapy” such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people better understand and manage their seasonal depression. Therapists can guide patients in identifying stressors, developing coping skills, and navigating their symptoms.
- Medicines is a common way to treat symptoms associated with chemical imbalances. Antidepressants can help elevate mood, reduce anxiety, and correct the biological causes of depression.
- Light therapy is commonly used because increased light exposure is a natural treatment for AS. Exposure to sunlight provides essential vitamins and signals that our bodies use to determine things like sleep-wake cycles. When the natural source of life is not sufficient, lamps made especially for the treatment of SAD are often introduced. These light fixtures or boxes are designed to provide access to bright light while limiting UV exposure.
“SAD is more than the winter blues, it’s technically a diagnosis of seasonal pattern depression,” advised Kleinman. “It can be distressing and overwhelming and interfere with patients’ daily function. If you have SAD, you don’t have to suffer through the winter seasons without support.”
Tips for fighting USA
- Catch that sunlight As much as possible. While the shorter days of winter may leave limited time outside of work and school hours to enjoy the outdoors, it’s important to take every opportunity to get out there and enjoy the real thing. Whether it’s through a daily walk, winter sports, or even sitting by a window, just being exposed to the sun can help.
- Watch your diet, especially during the cold months when our bodies are tempted to load up on carbohydrates and other heavy foods. A healthy, well-balanced and proportionately appropriate diet plays an important role in overall energy and well-being.
- Stay active and try not to stay cooped up inside all winter. Regular exercise has long been recognized as an effective tool for reducing symptoms of depression. Moving your body outside the home has been linked to several mental health benefits.
- Stay engaged and avoid the temptation to self-isolate. Stay in close touch and spend time with family and friends, sign up for activities in your community, get out of the house and around other people. Staying involved and socially engaged helps with feelings of loneliness and despair.
- Avoid complicating factors such as drugs and alcohol. Although it is common for people to turn to self-medication, the use of such substances has been shown to worsen depression and potentially cause further problems.
- Be careful your mental health and know that you don’t have to ignore or suffer from feelings of depression. If you’re struggling, don’t just write it off. If you have already started treatment, understand that feeling better is a process.
#Seasonal #depression #SAD #symptoms #treatment #renewed #winter #focus
Image Source : www.usatoday.com