Everyone has a favorite time of year, that season you look forward to with great anticipation. However, for many people seasonal changes can be difficult, especially the transition to fall and winter.
Five percent of Americans experience seasonal affective disorder, better known as SAD. As the days become shorter and we begin to spend more time inside, some of us may experience a dip in mood. Though the symptoms are the same as a depressive episode, the main difference is the symptoms are directly associated with the change of seasons.
Symptoms such as:
- Lower energy and/motivation
- A change in eating habits, eating more or less
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of detachment
- Withdrawal from friends and family
If you find you are experiencing these symptoms every year or that you just can’t get excited about the season, it may be SAD. Though there is no definitive cause or explanation, the time change and the lack of daylight hours are possible contributing factors. However, seasonal affective disorder is highly treatable.
You may want to try:
- Regulating your sleep pattern
- Communicating your concerns with your mental health provider
- Group therapy
- Light therapy
- Altering medication, under the direction of your physician
Once diagnosed, instead of being surprised and overwhelmed when the season arrives you will be able to plan ahead and use the techniques you have developed to make the seasonal change a welcoming and joyful experience.