OverviewWinter months typically bring about shorter days, causing our lives to naturally slow down. We find ourselves watching movies more & cooking comfort food at home. However, some people feel the slump more than others. When does your indoor winter blues become recognized as Seasonal Affective Disorder? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that reoccurs during the same season. Some individuals have SAD in the summer, spring or most common winter months. Anyone can experience SAD, however it is more common in women between the ages of 15 - 55. As you age, the likelihood of having SAD decreases. Along with this, individuals who live far from the equator have a higher chance of experiencing SAD due to the shorter days with less sunlight.
What causes SAD?Although there is no definite cure for SAD, researchers & doctors alike have found clues that could cause this tricky disorder. Serotonin, a chemical in your brain that affects mood may be related to SAD. Individuals with less serotonin or who have trouble regulating the chemical may be more inclined to have SAD. Studies have shown that people with SAD have higher serotonin levels in winter months than summer. Another factor may be the overproduction of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin production increases during darker periods, therefore as winter days become shorter, the levels of melatonin increase. Therefore individuals with SAD are more inclined to feel sleepy and sluggish. What to look out for:
- Lack of interest in hobbies
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or anxious
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Lack of energy
- No interest to socialize