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Do you feel SAD?

In this case we're not talking about the feeling but about Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression which comes about seasonal and is sometimes referred to as 'winter depression as the symptoms are more severe during the winter.


What causes SAD?

Whilst it's not completely clear what causes SAD, it is widely accepted that the lack of sunshine in autumn and winter (in the UK) is a large factor.


The lack of sunlight stops a part of the brain from working properly which affects:

  • the production of melatonin which makes us feel sleepy. People with sad produce more melatonin which causes sleep disturbances and fatigue.

  • the production of serotonin which impacts mood. Lower levels of serotonin leads to low mood and feelings of depression.

  • the body's internal clock, specifically when we wake up which can lead to the symptoms of SAD.

Symptoms of SAD

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • A persistent low mood.

  • A loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities.

  • Irritability.

  • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness.

  • Feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day.

  • Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning.

  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.

Does this sound like you? If so what can you do? Source: NHS Website

Treatment for SAD

If you think you are struggling with SAD, the first thing to do is contact your GP as they can advise the best course of action for you. Treatments for SAD include:

  • Talking Therapies: therapies such as counselling and CBT can help you to understand your depression, teach you useful coping strategies as well as helping you to make lifestyle changes which can aid your treatment.

  • Light therapy; using a special lamp as a sunlight replacement.

  • Changing your lifestyle; exercising more, being outdoors to get more sunlight.

  • Antidepressant medication.

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