Are you aware that the holiday season is often difficult for some people? In fact, the incidence of suicide and depression increase during the holiday season. It could be physiological. Find out more about seasonal affective disorder and how light therapy can help.
Old Man Winter will be knocking on our door ~ in fact, snow is predicted in some areas of Connecticut for tomorrow. While I really am enamoured of New England, winter sports were never my forte. I love the thought of skiing, ski lodges, sleigh rides and everything Trapp Family but I’m more the type to enjoy the coziness of the ski lodge fire with a hot toddy and watch from the comfort of the inn while everyone glides down the slopes.
Seasonal Affective Disorder known as SAD, is a subgroup of depression that involves a person suffering from depressive symptoms at a certain time of year. Usually, the depression occurs during the fall and winter. For some unknown reason, people begin to experience depression.
People suffering from seasonal affective disorder chalk it all up to the shorter days and longer nights. We underestimate the effect that lack of sunlight has on us. When the winter season passes, so does the depression and they get back to a normal life without ever realizing that they were depressed in the first place.
The problem is that seasonal affective disorder can be so severe that suicide is one possible outcome. Other symptoms include: overeating, depression, anxiety, weight gain, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, lack of concentration, and lethargy. Some of the symptoms build on each other. For instance, overeating can be caused by depression. As a result of the weight gain, the sufferer spins out of control into helplessness and anxiety.
On top of all this, there is a condition called reverse seasonal affective disorder. Instead of experiencing depressive symptoms during the fall and winter, it is experienced during the spring and summer. The symptoms are opposite to those experienced in the latter part of the year.
One theory about seasonal affective disorder is that the lack of proper sunlight contributes to the condition. Like I said before, we underestimate how much we need natural sunlight. Sunlight brightens the mood. We get a boost from spending even fifteen minutes in the sun each day.
During the winter months, the days are shorter. Fewer sunlit days due to the weather patterns makes us want to stay in. Some people are “bummed” when the weather isn’t sunny all the time.
In an effort to reduce the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, clinicians are trying several techniques, one of which is SAD light therapy. Anti-depressive medications are often prescribed to lessen the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Psychologists use psychotherapy to try and use positive reinforcement to change thought patterns.
If you feel that you display any of the symptoms and signs of seasonal affective disorder, see a physician as soon as possible. It could be nothing or something quite important. Have you or anyone else noticed a marked change in your behavior at certain times of the year for several years? People with a relative diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder are more likely to be affected by it as well.
In either case, the help of a strong support system assists with handling the condition. No one wants to feel bad and without hope. Lean on those around you to fight this disorder.
Image Credit: Zizzy0104