if dark and cold weather makes you depressed and tired, learn about Seasonal affective disorder and what are the best ways to treat it.
Seasonal affective disorder or winter blue is a mood disorder in which people may experience depression/anxiety mostly in winters although they have normal mental health. Around 6%of UK population and between 2-8%of people in other high latitude countries such as Denmark, Canada and Sweden these symptoms may interfere with the normal routine of people and they are unable to perform their work or function properly due to the severity of these symptoms. women are 40% more likely than men to experience symptoms of SAD.
SYMPTOMS OF SAD;
- 👉Lethargy and low energy
- 👉Depression/ Anxiety
- 👉Cravings for carbs /overeating.
- To be clinically diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, you need to have experienced these cyclical symptoms for two or more consecutive years.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS;
👉Circadian rhythms. short day time, less sunlight disrupt our circadian rhythms and lead to symptoms of SAD.
👉Production of melatonin; it is believed by researchers that excessive production of melatonin is one of the causes of this disorder. Increased levels of melatonin make you sleepy and tired.
👉Production of serotonin; Serotonin regulates depression anxiety and mood. several studies suggest that serotonin is modulated by light. in winters less sunlight reduces the levels of serotonin to such extent that it increases the likelihood of depressive symptoms.
SELF HELP FOR SAD;
👉Natural light☀️; many studies have shown that people with SAD feel better after exposure to bright sunlight.
👉 Eat the right foods🥦🥑🍓🍇🍉 citrus food, oily fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables. Avoid refined processed food.
👉Regular exercise🚶♀️🏊♀️🚴♀️; Moving around makes everyone happy and if you are suffering from SAD, regular exercise will boost your mood and makes you happy and energetic.
👉Friends and family; tie the season for family gatherings. spending time with family or friends can make you happy and may help in reducing the symptoms of SAD.
👉Stress management;🧘♀️🧘♀️yoga and meditation are the best way for the stress management.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that SAD should be treated in the same way as other types of depression. This includes cognitive therapy (CBT), medication. light therapy is also a popular treatment but NICE recommendation says there is not enough data to backup this mode of treatment.
Medications; Antidepressants are thought to be most effective if taken at the start of winter before symptoms appear, and continued until spring. Antidepressants are combined with light therapy for people with severe SAD.
Light therapy; Some people with SAD find that Artificial bright light can help improve their mood. it is suggested by researchers that artificial light stimulate the brain neurotransmitters and reduces the production of melatonin.
take home message
if you are struggling with symptoms of SAD, talking to other is very important. There are several charities or people that can help you through your struggle. Remember,consult your healthcare professional if you think you have SAD.