SAD Syndrome: An Introduction To The Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Available

SAD Syndrome (or Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that affects people mostly in the winter. These episodes of depression may recur at the same time each year, and are sometimes known as “winter depression”.

The Symptoms of SAD Syndrome

The symptoms are similar to depression, though they generally occur on a seasonal basis due to the fact that the body isn’t getting as much sunlight as it’s used to. However, it is also possible to experience summer depression.

Some of the main symptoms include:
* Irritability,
* Tearfulness,
* Difficulty concentrating,
* Despair,
* Indecisiveness,
* Sleeping more,
* Low self-esteem,
* Low sex drive,
* Lack of energy,
* Weight gain,
* Increased appetite,
* Anxiety,
* Feeling Worthless,
* Stress.

Symptoms will generally progress from mild during the autumn to more severe during winter. It’s important to realize that everyone will experience depression and SAD differently.

The symptoms may have a big impact on your day to day life, in which case it is important to seek treatment.

What Causes SAD?

As mentioned above, it’s thought that SAD is linked to exposure to sunlight. Sunlight affects hormones and chemicals in the brain, which can alter your moods, appetite and sleep. However, there are certain factors that make some people more susceptible to SAD than others:

* Having a family history of depression,
* Having a history of anxiety,
* The types of relationships you have with others,
* Whether you have a history of abuse.

Some people may also develop symptoms when they are working irregular hours and don’t wake during normal daytime hours. Even jetlag can produce some of the symptoms listed above.

Treatment for SAD Syndrome

If you think you may have SAD then you can visit a doctor for confirmation. They will ask you questions about your lifestyle and mood, as well as assessing any family history. Once you have been diagnosed, there are a number of treatments available.

Many treatments are the same as with standard depression, though certain treatments are used solely for SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder light therapy is an example of such a treatment, designed to help with the day-to-day, short term affects of SAD.

Light therapy means either wearing a light visor or sitting in front of a light box. They are generally designed to produce a light similar to daylight.

The intensity of the light is measured in lux – higher lux measurements mean brighter lights.

Light therapy is generally used daily for a period of around 30 minutes or longer, and can be performed using a special lamp at home. These are available to buy from a number of retailers.

If SAD Syndrome is having a negative effect on your life then it’s important to seek treatment. You don’t need to live with the “winter blues” – and there are a number of things you can do to help tackle them.

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