Nearly 500,000 Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), meaning 10% to 20% of the country experiences the ‘winter blues’. The change of seasons brings cold and flu season, but as well an onset for depression. While individuals living in particular geographical regions are more prone to SAD, this type of depression can affect almost anyone.
What is SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that occurs during the same time period each year, usually triggered by the change of seasons. The cause of SAD is still unknown, but experts believe it is prompted from your exposure to sunlight, or lack thereof.
Who does SAD affect?
While SAD can affect anyone, some are more susceptible to being diagnosed with this type of depression. Those most likely to live with SAD are:
- People living in areas with light deprivation, more commonly in the most northern and southern regions of the world. Residents are more vulnerable to SAD during the winter months because of the shorter daylight hours.
- Women are more likely to be affected due to certain hormones that have a connection with the depression.
- A person between the ages of 20 and 50 – the risk of getting SAD decreases as you age.
- People who have a close relative who was diagnosed with SAD.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
An individual can be diagnosed with SAD throughout different seasons of the year, but more than likely during the winter and summer months.
Common symptoms for the winter-onset of SAD are:
- Failure to concentrate
- Increased appetite
- Loss of energy
- Weight gain
- Withdrawal from activities and social events
Common symptoms for the summer-onset of SAD are:
- Agitation and irritability
- Decrease in appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
VNA of Ohio Manager of Clinical Development, Amy Silbaugh, discusses Mental Health and the Winter Months:
Seasonal Affective Disorder can be treated through a variety of different techniques, from in-home remedies, to light therapies to behavioral therapy. It is best to talk with your doctor and healthcare team to determine the appropriate treatment for your diagnosis.
Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio works with your entire healthcare team to ensure a smooth continuum of care, allowing patients to reach optimal health and independence.
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