Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Order or SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in the seasons. Most often, it starts mid-to-late fall and continues into winter. Many people suffer from a decrease in energy and an increase in moodiness. Although this disorder is common, it is incredibly preventable. The issue is that the causes to the symptoms are not often recognized.

One of the main reasons why people suffer from this disorder is the significant decrease in outside activity. Not only do people experience a decrease in fresh air but also in sunlight as well. The reduced level of sunlight in winter and fall disrupt your body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm. A drop in sunlight causes a slight drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood. A change in season also affects melatonin, which is involved in sleep patterns and your mood. When this balance is shifted, you can experience a decrease in the amount of sleep you get. Aside from the science of it, sunlight and fresh air simply uplifts your mood. A sudden change in this can trigger depression.

So, how do we prevent this? A big part of prevention is mental. Long, warm summer days being spent at the beach turn into short, cold, sunless days being spent at work. It is easy to get caught in a funk. Next time you are feeling this way try to think along the lines of, “the weather does not affect my mood” and “there are special and unique activities I can find joy in with each season”.

Start exercising and taking the time to be outside. Even if it’s only taking a quick ten-minute walk during the day, believe it or not it can significantly change your mood. Exercise increases neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids, which improve your mood and can ease feelings of depression.


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