Most of us feel a little blue when the nights get darker and the days get shorter, but some people experience something a lot more serious that a touch of the winter blues! Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression and a recognised mental health disorder that occurs mostly during the winter months.
Whereas it is normal to feel more cheerful and energetic when the sun is shining, people with SAD will experience a great affect on their mental health as winter sets in.
With winter comes less natural light, and it is thought that this is one of the most likely causes of SAD. When light hits the back of the eye, messages are passed to the part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite, sex drive, temperature, mood and activity. When there’s not enough light, these functions can slow down and gradually stop.
Some people seem to need a lot more light than others for their bodies and minds to function adequately. These are the people more likely to develop SAD symptoms if they are exposed to low levels of light.
So what are the symptoms of SAD?
SAD has many different symptoms and it’s important to understand that you don’t need to suffer from all of them to be experiencing SAD.
According to our Fareham chiropractor, some of the most common symptoms of the disorder include:
- reduced energy for everyday tasks, such as studying or going to work
- problems with concentration
- sleep issues such as needing to sleep for longer than usual or not being able to get to sleep
- feelings of depression such as feeling sad, worthless, tearful, guilty or like you have let others or yourself down. Some people may experience feelings of hopelessness and despair or even emptiness and apathy.
- anxiety and a reduced ability to deal with everyday stresses
- overeating, comfort eating or snacking more than usual
- being more susceptible to illness. Some people with SAD may have a weakened immune system during the winter, making them more prone to developing colds, infections and other illnesses.
- feeling irritable or not wanting to see people
- drug or alcohol use
If you think you may be suffering from SAD our Homewood chiropractor in Fareham recommends you visit a healthcare professional for help. There is help available!