Depression That’s Affected by Seasons – What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

There are a few different types of depressive disorders. One of them is characterized by specific times of the year that individuals may experience depressive episodes. This type of depression is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But, what is Seasonal Affective Disorder and what can people do who are experiencing this type of depressive disorder to feel better?

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

SAD is a type of depressive disorder that is marked by episodes of depression, feeling sad, isolation, oversleeping, and a decrease in energy. Typically, people diagnosed with this type of depression experience these episodes during certain times of the year. Most commonly, people struggling with SAD experience depressive episodes during the winter months. This is thought to be due to the fact that there is less sunlight during the winter, daylight savings time makes days even shorter (which results in less sunlight), and there are certain chemical changes that happen to the brain during the winter months.

While most people aren’t seriously affected by the decreased sunlight and effects of daylight savings time to the effect that they experience depressive episodes, people with SAD may experience these episodes every year. Therefore, having to deal with the negative and debilitating effects of depression can affect daily life, relationships, and more.

Understanding the Causes of SAD

There are believed to be a number of causes for the development of SAD. The development of SAD may be different for different individuals, just like any other mental health issue. Some of the common reasons why someone may develop this type of depressive disorder may include:

Family History: people with a family history of this type of depression may be at a higher risk of developing it themselves. So, if you have a family member who deals with similar symptoms and depressive episodes, you may be more likely to experience this disorder yourself.

Geography: location may play a part in whether or not people are more likely to develop this type of depression. Since SAD has a lot to do with seasons, locations that are more severely affected by colder weather may have more residents who develop this type of depressive disorder. For example, more northern locations deal with less sunlight than southern locations. So, people who live in more northern areas may be more susceptible to the development of this type of depression.

Gender: according to research, younger women are the most susceptible audience for the development of SAD. So, gender can play a part in the risk of this mental health issue.

Mental Health History: people who have dealt with mental health issues, specifically other types of depression, are at a higher risk for developing the symptoms of SAD.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms of SAD

Just like the causes of SAD may vary from person to person, so may the symptoms. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of SAD is important in order to identify whether or not you or a loved one may need to seek professional help. Some of the signs and symptoms of this type of depressive disorder can include:

  • low mood
  • decreased energy
  • sleeping too much
  • mood swings
  • irritability
  • inability to accomplish tasks
  • lack of motivation
  • disordered eating behaviors
  • feelings of guilt and shame

Getting Help for SAD at Delray Brain Science

There are a number of treatments and therapies that are successful in helping people manage and overcome the symptoms of SAD. Delray Brain Science is an outpatient mental health treatment facility that offers both revolutionary and traditional treatment offerings for people struggling with depressive disorders, including SAD. Find out more about our services from our website.