You may notice that in the colder months when the temperature drops, everything becomes quieter and the days shorten – and you may feel less like your usual self. This might be diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the “winter blues”.
SAD affects up to nearly 10 per cent of people who live in the northern part of the globe and are experiencing a form of depression.
What is seasonal depression?
According to the experts at House Call Doctor, SAD is categorised as a type of depression that is related to the change of the seasons. SAD will usually begin and end at the same time of the year.
Even though it’s still a mystery to experts, SAD is believed to be related to light, or rather the lack of it.
Many other things such as ions in the air, brain chemicals and even genetics are suggested to be linked with seasonal depression, but that’s still up for debate.
The symptoms of SAD usually begin in Autumn and last until Spring, making you feel less energised and moody. However, there are some cases of SAD appearing in the opposite seasons of Spring and Summer.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
The symptoms of SAD can start out mild and then become more severe during the season. These symptoms may include:
- Loss of energy
- Feeling depressed nearly every day, for most of the day
- Felling agitated or sluggish
- Having trouble sleeping
- Not wanting to participate in previously enjoyed activities
- Differences in weight or appetite
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Feeling worthless, guilty or hopeless
- Difficulty in concentrating.
Sometimes there are specific symptoms that occur during Autumn and Winter, which is called Winter Depression. These might include:
- Loss of energy or tiredness
- Craving food with high carbohydrate content and weight gain
- Appetite changes.
The specific symptoms that occur during Spring and Summer, also known as Summer Depression, can include:
- Loss in appetite and weight
- Agitation or anxiety
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia.
Seasonal changes might affect people suffering from bipolar. For instance, Winter might cause depression and Summer can bring on symptoms of hypomania.
It is normal to feel down sometimes, but if you notice you’re feeling down for numerous days, it’s important to see a doctor. This is especially crucial if your diet has changed in any way, you feel hopeless, rely on alcohol or are thinking about suicide.