by Donna Durham October 29, 2018 3 Comments

Today I am  going to recap my instagram live segment from Thursday Oct. 25 about Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sometimes we shorten it to SAD.


Mayo Clinic defines Seasonal Affective Disorder as a type of depression that is related to change in season. It typically begins and ends at the at the same times each year. For some people it is a Fall/Winter onset and for others it is a Spring/Summer onset.  


Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide (you definitely need to tell someone if this is true for you.)


People often question if SAD is real. And the answer is YES! It is real!

Some people say it’s all in your head. Don’t even think about trying to convince these people. Just accept that they are in a different place than you.

 

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR: 

It's normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can't get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you notice you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.

 

CAUSES OF SAD:

The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:

  • Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

 

COMPLICATIONS:

Take signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to problems if it's not treated. These can include:

  • Social withdrawal: have you reduced the amount of time you spend with people you love?
  • School or work problems: are you experiencing more agitation or conflict with co-workers?
  • Substance abuse: are you reaching for something to make you feel better?
  • Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders: do you feel excessively worried? Are you binge eating or restricting your eating?
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior: please tell someone!

 

SELF-TALK:

When you notice these patterns, be intentional about having compassion for yourself. You are not less than or weak or crazy. You are a person that experiences depression sometimes.

Be KIND to yourself. Remind yourself that this is temporary and that it is part of your body's chemistry. Give yourself extra time to get things accomplished. Practice positive self-talk by saying things like: “It won’t always be like this, this is just a season”. Name things you like about yourself.

Make the most of natural light. If you can sit outside for a few minutes at lunch or on a break, DO IT! Natural light helps reduce SAD.

Avoid stress. Are there people in your life that add to your stress? Reduce the time you spend with them.

Call a supportive friend or family member that really gets you. Reach out and tell them when you are struggling.

Eat right and exercise. When we don’t feel great we tend to reach for carbs to give us a little sugar rush. But after the sugar rush comes the sugar crash. So be intentional about eating fresh fruits and veggies. And don’t skip the workout! Working out will improve your mood and increase your health on so many levels.

Look into getting a light box that helps imitate sunlight. This can help reduce SAD, especially for those who don't have the opportunity to spend much time in natural sunlight. 

 

A NOTE FOR FRIENDS:

If you notice that a friend of yours just doesn’t seem themselves, SAY SOMETHING! It is better to be a caring friend and be wrong than to stay silent and be right.

 

I hope this blog post helps raise awareness of a disorder that can be very heavy to live with through big parts of the year. If you are struggling please know you are not alone.


Be Comforted,

Donna

Donna Durham
Donna Durham


3 Responses

Rose
Rose

January 28, 2019

“eating right” doesn’t mean anything except “eat what you want and listen to your body.” if you restrict the foods you eat you’re just gonna be sadder lol. be mindful about eating and listen to what your body wants to eat, and you’ll feel better, because your body will quickly start letting you know what nutrients and vitamins you need and how to get them.

Mich
Mich

November 29, 2018

Also get hormones and vitamin levels checked, sometimes that can make it worse. I thought my thyroid was getting sluggish again and begged the doctor to test me but it turned out I was deficient in Vit D and that took the edge off once i took it for 2-3 weeks.

gail
gail

October 30, 2018

I am glad I saw this article. My teenage daughter fits everything you talked about. The school thinks she mental and others want her on drugs. I will talk to her doctor about this syndrome. Thank you for posting this.

Leave a comment


Also in Weighting Comforts Blog

Sleep Series: Why Sleep Matters
Sleep Series: Why Sleep Matters

by Donna Durham June 11, 2019 2 Comments

Read More
7 Ways Laughter Improves Our Health
7 Ways Laughter Improves Our Health

by Donna Durham April 23, 2019 1 Comment

Read More
English Class Fun
English Class Fun

by Donna Durham April 18, 2019

Read More
What Blanket Weight Should I Buy?

If you're new to weighted blankets, we recommend that you choose the lightest weight available of the style you prefer. If after looking at this size chart you find yourself between two weights, we recommend you choose the lighter of the two.