March 5, 2015
Does the changing of the seasons, especially in fall and winter, leave you feeling sad, fatigued, and hopeless? These are just a few common signs associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If this sounds like you, know that you are not alone. Over 3 million people suffer from seasonal affective disorder each year (Note: this blog is not meant to be used as a diagnosis. If you have concerns about depression, talk to your physician).
Although there isn’t one definitive cause for SAD, there are several factors that experts say may play a role. For many, the decrease in sunlight alone can induce feelings of sadness or lethargy as it disrupts your body’s internal clock.
There are also a few chemical responses that can play a role in developing SAD. The reduced sunlight can cause your brain’s serotonin levels to drop, which can provoke feelings of depression. Similarly, the changing seasons can alter your body’s melatonin levels, affecting your sleep patterns and mood.
While people typically associate SAD with cold, dreary weather, there are many people who experience a decrease in happiness during the summer.
Typical symptoms of SAD include:
Of course, the positive thing about recognizing these symptoms in yourself is that you can now take steps to help you work through your feelings. Everyone copes differently, but the suggestions below are worth trying out to see how they can benefit you.
Ideas for Coping:
Lastly, if you notice that the feelings of sadness are cyclical and typically fade by the time the seasons change back, remind yourself that the way you’re feeling is only temporary. It will pass, so just continue to take care of yourself until then. If you still feel sad and hopeless for a long period of time, it is a good idea to speak with a professional counselor or therapist in Austin.