Each season many look forward to the return of their favorite seasonal foods, fashions, and holidays.  For others, seasonal changes may signal the return of anxiety, depression, and an overall melancholy disposition.  The following information will provide a better understanding of SAD and provide ways to manage its symptoms.

 

What Is SAD

Seasonal affective disorder was coined by Dr.Norman D Rosenthal in 1984.  It is described as recurring depression symptoms that are influenced by seasonal change. Around 10 million Americans are diagnosed with SAD each year. The onset of SAD usually occurs in adults between the ages of 18 and 30. Although both men and women are susceptible, SAD is more prevalent in women. 

What Does SAD Look Like?

SAD symptoms can vary depending on the season. Those dealing with Winter and Fall symptoms may experience low energy, high carb cravings, weight gain, and oversleeping. Symptoms associated with Spring and Summer may manifest in the forms of insomnia, loss of appetite, and agitation.   

Risk Factors and Warning Signs

SAD is often associated with individuals receiving less natural vitamin D through the sun. Due to recent quarantine orders, there has been an increase in vitamin D deficiency-related issues. This condition is also associated with seasonal melatonin changes that impact sleep patterns and mood. Biological factors also play a role. Individuals with a family history of SAD, chronic depression, and bipolar disorder may also be at increased risk. 

Treatment

The first step in managing SAD is early detection. Individuals dealing with this disorder will have indicators that are similar to chronic depression. These indicators can manifest as substance abuse, being socially withdrawn, eating disorders, and increased anxiety.  In young adults and children, problems completing tasks at school and work are also indicators. Participating in clinical therapy, light therapy, and increasing vitamin D-rich foods will help to improve SAD symptoms.

 

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