Winter Blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), causes many people to feel unmotivated and sluggish. As the seasons change depending on your geographical location, you may experience a decrease in sun exposure. As Autumn rolls in, the days become significantly shorter, especially in the Midwest. Many folks report low energy, a lack of motivation, or increased symptoms caused by depression. In the 1980s, the National Institutes of Health researchers first recognized that there is a link between light exposure (or lack of it) and seasonal depression. Researchers have many theories, but the specific cause of SAD is still unknown. The theories imply that our circadian rhythm, serotonin, and melatonin levels affect our brains and bodies.
As the research on SAD is still ongoing, there is no definitive treatment for SAD. There are a few suggested ways to manage the symptoms. We’ve compiled a list of known symptoms to explain what SAD may feel like but it’s essential to know every person’s experience is unique and specific symptoms may or may not be present. We’ve also included a list of recommended ways to manage the symptoms of SAD. Two of the best-known natural treatments for depression are diet change and exercise but therapy is also an option. If you cannot take a vacation somewhere the sun is shining bright, Light Exposure therapy may be helpful, or simply talking it out with a therapist. If you feel like you are experiencing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, we encourage you to contact a professional doctor for advice.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder may include:
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling depressed
- Low energy
- Problems sleeping
- Increased Sleeping
Seasonal Affective Disorder does not have a known cure, but symptoms can be managed by:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Talk therapy)
- Dietary Changes
- Light Exposure (Phototherapy)
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