April 14, 2021
Healthy Living: The Importance of Diet and Exercise
- Family Medicine
- Wellness Institute
November 22, 2019 • Family Medicine
Everyone feels sad from time to time, but if you notice that you become depressed when the seasons change (especially in the winter), you may be suffering from a specific type of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
Many symptoms of SAD are similar to symptoms of major depression, which include:
However, some symptoms are unique to seasonal affective disorder, for example:
Although it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of SAD, there are some biological indicators that may increase your risk:
Other risk factors of SAD include living far away from the equator and having a family or personal history of depression and other mood disorders.
There are several options for treating seasonal affective disorder depending on the severity of your symptoms. For most people, some combination of medication (SSRIs), light therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and vitamin D supplements can help treat SAD. You may also notice a benefit from small adjustments like orienting your living space or office toward south-facing windows that get more natural sunlight during winter months, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, and scheduling social activities with friends and family.
If you get the wintertime blues, you aren’t alone. Talk to your doctor about treatment options if you have symptoms of SAD or major depression.
“Seasonal Affective Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health.
“Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” American Psychiatric Association.
“Seasonal Affective Disorder.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.