Every year during the winter season people start feeling SAD. No, that’s not “sticky keys” being activated, it’s a real thing. SAD is an acronym for seasonal affective disorder and is a type of depression related to seasons. Most people with SAD feel the effects starting in the fall and lasting well into the winter months. Effects can include feeling depressed most of the day nearly every day, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having low energy, having problems with sleeping, experiencing changes in your appetite or weight, feeling sluggish or agitated, having difficulty concentrating, feeling hopeless, having frequent thoughts of death or suicide, and other effects that are normally associated with depression.
Why it occurs
SAD is a very real thing that affects millions of people every year. About 4 to 6 percent of people may have winter depression while another 10 to 20 percent may have mild SAD. This goes to show that it is a very normal occurrence and that there is a very connectable reason to why it is happening. Science and research tells us that winter depression is probably caused by a lack of sunlight. As the winter months dawn, less sunlight begins to reach the surface of our bodies. This explains why much more people feel the affects of SAD during the winter time rather than the spring and summer months.
How to fight it
So, what can we do? There are many strategies to fight feeling SAD but a few reign above the rest. Here’s our list:
1- Get Light Therapy
We learned that the major cause of feeling SAD is the lack of light that the winter months protrude. When our bodies lack the many vitamins, minerals, and all the other “goodies” that the sun gives us we begin to feel the affects of depression the most. Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. An easy way to receive light therapy is to sit, stand, work (or whatever you want really) by a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light that can give you all those good chemicals that make you HAPPY (not an acronym)
When it boils down to it, the reason we need sunlight is for the chemicals, vitamins, and minerals that it gives to our bodies. Many of these chemicals, vitamins, and minerals can be given to us through pills. Medication is not for everyone though. Seeing a doctor to determine if you need to be prescribed medication, however, can be highly beneficial in reducing or eliminating the effects of SAD.
One of the best and most effective ways to fix any problem is to just talk it out. Counseling or therapy can be an easy way to make SAD be turned to GLAD (again, not an acronym). At WeCounsel, we offer a way to reach a counselor at anytime and anywhere you’d like via online services. By using a laptop, phone, or other internet capable device you can video chat, phone conference, IM, text, or email a counselor whenever and wherever you’d like.
Start your search for a provider today at our directory!
Am Fam Physician. “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” American Family Physician, 1 Mar. 2000, www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Oct. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651.