Seasonal Affective Disorder
I wanted to touch on the top of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This syndrome occurs during the season changes and effects most people during the winter months. SAD is categorized in the depression category. People during the winter can get very depressed due to the lack of sun, short daylight days and cold weather. This syndrome a lot of people do have and do not even realize they have it.
- 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
Now the exact cause of this condition is really unknown by medical professionals. From the research I did on the condition, I found that most medical professionals come to the conclusion there is three reasons that they do believe can be the reason for the syndrome, but it is still unknown the exact reason.
One reason – Your biological clock can be thrown off because of the reduced sunlight during the fall and winter. The decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
Second reason – Serotonin levels is the brain chemical that affects mood. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels and this can lead to SAD.
Third reason – Melatonin levels can change in and disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin. Melatonin levels that are low can change a person sleep pattern and mood.
These reasons that I found do make a lot of sense when it comes to SAD. I know for me during the winter months I am always more tired and it is harder to get moving especially in the morning with the lack of sunlight. Most people that suffer from SAD live far north or south of the equator. Most of the Northeast, Upper Midwest and Northwest see a lot of cloudy days during the winter months. Even though daylight is shorter in the Southeast and Southwest of the U.S, the difference in these areas are that they do not have very many gloomy, gray and cloudy days that most of the Northern U.S. WIth the sunnier days during the winter it can help with people who suffer from SAD.
I live in Pittsburgh and this a good example of winter months. Yes, this winter temperatures where milder than normal and snow was no existence. The snow and the cold does play a part in SAD, but like I stated earlier, the cloudy and gloomy days are the main issue. Pittsburgh has an average of 203 cloudy days per year. These 203 days are dark cloudy days, no peaks of sun, just dark and gray skies. January 2020 in Pittsburgh, yes temperatures were almost 5 degrees warmer than average and only 5 inches of snow fell for the whole month. Here is the part that plays into SAD now. There was 18 days of straight overcast, 12 days where there was a few peak of sun and 0 days of clear skies. Yes, 0 days! No partly cloudy at all. I love Pittsburgh it is a beautiful citie, but the lack of sun here is just depressing.
This link https://thoughtsbyfiddler.com/2200/cloudy-and-sunny-cities/01/23/2020/ is a blog post I wrote about the sunniest and cloudiest cities in the U.S. This list can tell you where SAD would most likely occur.
I wanted to make all my readers and other fellow bloggers aware of this condition. I know how the winter affects me ever year. I do not like snow, cold days and cloudy gloomy days. During the winter it is very hard to get motivated when most days look like night. I am not planning on staying in Pittsburgh forever. Yes, I love the city and it is a great city. But spend the rest of my life in this climate? No, this climate is not for me. For most people the weather does not affect their daily lives. Yes, most people do like warmer weather than cold weather. But the winter is not that much of a bother for them.
Treatment for SAD
I did read during my research there is some treatments that can help with SAD. Light Therapy is one treatment option. Sitting a few feet from a special light box so that you’re exposed to bright light within the first hour of waking up each day. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and can change brain chemicals linked to mood.
Anti Depression medications is another treatment to help with the depression for SAD.
Working out and mind body connection is very helpful idea I also read about. Working out does raise serotonin and dopamine levels, which definitely would help. Meditation and yoga is a good way to do mind body connection, the relaxation from this can help with SAD symptoms.
If anyone or anyone you know have these symptoms during the winter months please don’t be afraid to contact your doctor. Do not ignore these symptoms. These symptoms can hurt your health and lead to other health issues.
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