Seasonal affective disorder is a season-related depression and is also known as winter depression. Seasonal affective disorder begins and ends at the same time each year. If you or your loved one is suffering from it may continue to feel moody in the winter months due to less sunlight. The symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder are similar to symptoms of depression. The available treatment options are light therapy, psychotherapy, and some simple strategies. In this blog, you’ll learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of seasonal affective disorder.
What are the causes of Seasonal affective disorder?
The exact cause of the seasonal affective disorder is yet unknown. Some factors which trigger winter depression are given below:
The less availability of sunlight in the winter may disturb your body’s internal clock and cause seasonal affective disorder.
Serotonin level in the bloodstream
The serotonin hormone is also known as a sleep-boosting chemical because it is a neurotransmitter that controls your mood, sleeping cycle, and anxiety. The reduced level of sunlight drops serotonin levels in the blood and triggers winter depression.
Melatonin level in the bloodstream
The change in the season not only disturbs your body’s internal cycles but also disturbs the hormones in your body, such as melatonin, and causes seasonal affective disorder.
What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?
Some significant symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are too much or too little sleep, weight gain, and anxiety. While the symptoms may be mild to severe depending upon a person’s psychological health. The common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are given below:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite; usually eating more, craving carbohydrates
- Change in sleep; usually sleeping too much or too little
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours
- Increase in purposeless physical activity
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
What are the treatments for seasonal affective disorder?
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are improved automatically once the season change. But some treatment options help to improve the symptoms more quickly, as given below:
- Light therapy involves the absorption of bright light while sitting in front of it. This therapy is done in the morning of winter for 20 minutes per day. Most people observe positive change after the 2-3 weeks of light therapy treatment. Some people may begin light therapy in early winter to prevent symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
- Talking therapy, also known as cognitive behavior therapy, has also proved effective in treating the seasonal affective disorder.
- Increasing exposure to sunlight increases the level of serotonin in your blood and regulates the circadian rhythm cycle, resulting in the decrease of seasonal affective disorder symptoms.
- Regular exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, staying active, and connecting with friends and family may also help to manage the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
What are the Risk factors of seasonal affective disorder?
There are the following factors that may increase the risk of seasonal affective disorder:
- Family history
- Having major depression or bipolar disorder
- Living far from the equator
- Deficiency of vitamin D
- Underlying health disease
What are the complications of seasonal affective disorder?
If you or your any loved ones are suffering from it, then you should take this case seriously because then it may lead to:
- Social withdrawal
- School or work problems
- Substance abuse
- Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Seasonal affective disorder occurs during the winter season due to less availability of sunlight. Lack of sunlight deceased the serotonin and melatonin level in your bloodstream and disturbed your circadian rhythm and sleeping cycle. The common symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder are fatigue, tiredness, variation in sleeping, weight gain, loss of concentration, feeling sad, and thinking about guilty and suicide. There’s no proper treatment for seasonal affective disorder; however, some therapies and basic techniques such as exposure to the sun may help manage the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.