Seeing this in the calendar today and working in an office, I thought that this would be a good topic to talk about. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as “winter depression” due to the symptoms being more obvious within winter. SAD is a seasonal patterned variation of depression. Low mood and a lack of interest in life are the 2 main symptoms of this disorder.
Most of you will be surprised to know that this is actually a disorder, most people believe that this is just a myth. The symptoms normally start in autumn, whilst the days are getting shorter and then increase in severity during December, January and February. Once spring arrives the symptoms start to decrease, until they have completely disappeared.
What Causes SAD?
Unfortunately the cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, however it is known to be linked with the reduction of natural light, due to the shorter days within winter. Without going too scientific – the sunlight affects chemicals and hormones within our brain and it is thought that this can then affect our mood, sleep, appetite, etc. Without the natural light, we can get the symptoms of depression.
If you are diagnosed with SAD, there are treatments that can help fight the symptoms, including light therapy to increase the amount of natural light you receive. Luckily, if you are working in an office environment, you are able to get a light box on your desk at work, again to increase the amount of natural light you receive.
Even though we are in the middle of a heat wave and SAD shouldn’t have kicked in yet – just make sure that you are aware of this condition and the effects it can have on you.
To read more about the Seasonal Affective Disorder, click here.