My doctor seems to think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). By the way, I rather disagree with whoever named that- I have SAD. I have the SADs. It doesn’t sound as serious as it can be with a name like that. SAD is a depression related to the changes of the seasons- typically fall and winter (but can be spring and summer). Tends to start mind and get worse as the seasons’ progress.
Seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect 10 million Americans. Another 10 percent to 20 percent may have mild SAD. SAD is four times more common in women than in men. The age of onset is estimated to be between the age of 18 and 30. Some people experience symptoms severe enough to affect quality of life, and 6 percent require hospitalization. Many people with SAD report at least one close relative with a psychiatric disorder, most frequently a severe depressive disorder (55 percent) or alcohol abuse (34 percent). Psychology Today
An estimated 2% to 3% of the general population suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Canada.com
Symptoms may include:
- feeling depressed most of the time
- losing interest in activities you usually enjoy
- Low energy
- Insomnia and sleep issues, even oversleeping for Winter SAD
- Change in appetite (Decrease with Summer SAD, increase with Winter SAD)
- Weight gain for Winter SAD
- Feeling sluggish and fatigued (Winter SAD)
- Feeling agitated (Summer SAD)
- Difficulty in concentration
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Suicidal ideation
- Anxiety/stressed out for Summer SAD
- Lack of motivation
- A decrease in socializing for Winter SAD
- The biological clock can lead to the Winter SAD. Due to the lack of sunlight, it may disrupt our internal clock.
- Serotonin levels can drop due to lack of sunlight and lead to depressed mood
- Melatonin levels can be disrupted by the changing seasons which can affect mood and sleep.
- May produce less vitamin D.
- Family history– of other members of the family that have SAD or have another form of depression.
- Already have a Major Depressive Disorder or Bipolar disorder– changes in the seasons may worsen existing conditions like these.
- Living far from the equator– far to the north or south can lead to SAD more often.
- More common in women. 4Xs as often as men
Treatment may include
- Light therapy (light lamps for example)
- medications (Wellbrutin for example)
- Get outside for more sunlight exposure
- Brighten home environment
- Take vitamin D
Here is the thing- One cannot tell if one has Seasonal Affective Disorder from just one year. Yeah, I do not like winter. It makes me sluggish. Pain is worse. I tend to be less social. My depression does tend to amp up, when it wasn’t treated. I agree to all that.
But I am not sure I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I may be situationally depressed due to life just sucking right now, overall in many ways, and that is aggravating my existing Major Depressive Disorder.
Or I do have SAD because certainly I have the risk factor of having a major depressive condition, a family history of depression and am far from the equator, and, yeah, a woman. So maybe I do. I do know my mood went from crappy but manageable to just quite bad this month. So part of September and October it has been low. And most of my tricks to modify my mood have not worked well because I have been… moody and not wanting to engage in the things I know make me feel better. That is the contrary nature of depression right there. It fights you every step of the way. And I am aware my mood isn’t so awesome at the moment. But like isn’t so awesome either. So I can’t tell if this is SAD and my brain is just using those life situations as excuses to rationalize its feelings as one does with depression- or I am literally situationally depressed for very valid reasons and won’t be when I handle those very valid reasons.
Or is it moot? Emotions must be dealt with when it comes to low moods and one has depression. My doctor gave me a medication to take in addition to my other one which I will consider taking. I said I would prefer to see my psychologist first for a nice depression refresher course on the brain.
SAD includes light therapy such as this one: