Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of major depression that is typically associated with the change of seasons. SAD can occur in the winter or summer months but is most common during periods of reduced daylight hours and colder temperatures. This psychological condition can seriously affect a person’s health and wellness. SAD can also act as a distraction and lead to a vehicle crash or workplace injury. Here are some warning signs of SAD and some suggestions on how to address the issue either for you or someone you know:
Recognize the Hazards
Major depression (part of SAD)*
- Frequent and lasting feelings of depression
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Problems sleeping
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Feelings of sluggishness or agitation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Family history of depression
- Tiredness or low energy
- Problems getting along with other people
- Hypersensitivity to rejection
- Cravings for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Age - young people have a higher risk of winter SAD
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Agitation or anxiety
Know the Defense
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Open window blinds
- Sit closer to bright windows
- Communicate regularly with friends, family, and coworkers
- Take frequent walks
- Get outside, even if briefly, on colder days
- Exercise regularly
- Eat healthier, portion-controlled meals and avoid carbohydrates
- Phototherapy (light therapy) - Sitting in front of a special light box that exposes you to bright light that mimics natural outdoor light may help improve your mood.
- Medications - Doctor-prescribed antidepressant medications may help prevent depressive episodes.
- Psychotherapy - Individual counseling by a professional psychologist can help you change negative thoughts and behaviors, manage stress, and cope with SAD.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
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