Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons —the symptoms start in the Autumn and continue into the Winter months, Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD may include: Oversleeping, appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, weight gain and tiredness or low energy

Some factors that may
come into play include:
• Your biological clock. The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

• Serotonin levels. A drop-in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop-in serotonin that may trigger depression.

• Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

Some simple things to help alleviate the symptoms are:
• Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Open blinds, trim trees or add skylights to your home. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office.

• Get outside. Take a long walk, eat lunch at a nearby park, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help — especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.

• Exercise regularly. Exercise and other types of physical activity help relieve stress and anxiety. Being more fit can make you feel better about yourself.

• Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep to help you feel rested, but not too much, as SAD symptoms often lead people to feel like hibernating. Make healthy choices for meals and snacks. Don’t turn to alcohol or recreational drugs for relief.

• Practice stress management. Learn techniques to manage your stress better. Relaxation techniques meditation or music and art therapy.

• Socialize. Make an effort to connect with people you enjoy being around.

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