Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs simultaneously each year. It’s quite a common disorder, affecting about ten million Americans . Unfortunately, the disorder isn’t well-known, and many would treat it like depression. However, this isn’t the case. Here is everything you need to know about SAD.
What Causes SAD?
The exact cause of SAD is unknown, but it is thought to be related to a change in the amount of sunlight exposure. This may explain why SAD is more common in winter when there is less daylight. However, there are also other known risk factors for SAD. Here are some of them.
Living Far From the Equator
The equator is the circle around the earth that receives maximum sunlight. So, those who live far away from these areas receive less sunshine during the winter , thus increasing their risk of developing SAD.
Age and Gender
Younger women are more likely to develop SAD than older people or men. This may be due to hormonal changes in younger women, which affect mood and sleep patterns.
Health Conditions and Medications
Individuals with health conditions, such as specific heart problems or autoimmune disorders, are more likely to develop SAD than others. Similarly, those who take certain medications may also be at risk.
Symptoms of SAD
SAD has various symptoms. The most common are lethargy, depression, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, and overeating. Some people may also experience insomnia, anxiety, and social isolation. However, other symptoms may include struggling to sleep or getting too much sleep.
People with SAD sleep more than usual and have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. They may also crave carbohydrates and gain weight. People with SAD may also withdraw from social activities and have difficulty concentrating or performing tasks at work or school.
How Can SAD Affect Your Life?
SAD can affect your life in various ways. Here are the most common ways it can affect your life:
Depression can put a strain on even the strongest relationships. When dealing with SAD, it’s essential to communicate with your partner about how you’re feeling. Otherwise, your partner may feel no longer necessary to you.
One of the most common symptoms of SAD is social withdrawal. People with SAD often feel isolated and alone, even when people surround them. This can lead to sadness and despair, further fueling the social withdrawal cycle. If you’re not careful, SAD can cause you to lose touch with your friends and loved ones, which can profoundly impact your life.
Inability to Concentrate
It’s hard to focus on work when you’re feeling down. If your job requires a lot of mental energy, SAD can make it difficult to get anything done. This can lead to missed deadlines, decreased productivity, and even getting fired from your job.
Treatment for SAD
SAD is quite a unique disorder, but thankfully, there are various treatments for SAD. Here are the most common treatments for it.
One of the newest treatments for mood disorders is ketamine. Essentially, this is a drug that promotes rapid antidepressant effects. Depending on the severity of your SAD, you may be prescribed ketamine therapy to help improve your mood and overall well-being.
Ketamine alters brain receptors’ activity in areas that affect mood. It is often used as a sedative in anesthesiology, but it has helped many people with SAD overcome their symptoms quickly and effectively. You can get this therapy in a local ketamine clinic near you. They can screen you for SAD and decide if ketamine is a suitable treatment for you.
Many people with SAD benefit from light therapy. This involves sitting under bright lights for a certain amount each day to help regulate your body’s natural hormone balance and mitigate the symptoms of SAD. Talk to your doctor about whether light therapy might be right for you.
Exercise and Diet
Regular exercise can also help improve your mood and reduce the severity of SAD symptoms. Additionally, eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals may boost your overall health and well-being, which can help with any psychological disorder such as SAD.
In some cases, medication may be prescribed by your doctor to help treat SAD. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help reduce the severity of your symptoms and make it easier to manage day-to-day life with this disorder.
Despite its prevalence, there is still much the world doesn’t know about SAD. First, you must talk to a doctor or mental health professional if you are suffering from this disorder. Then, you can overcome your symptoms and lead a healthy, happy life with the right treatment.