Do you feel down during the winter? Is your energy lower than it should be? Do you feel depressed or run down? Then you may suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD for short). If that’s the case, treating seasonal affective disorder is vital to keeping you enthusiastic about and in love with life. Winter doesn’t have to be a time of blues and depression.
It isn’t enough to recognize the possibility that you suffer from this condition. Even a diagnosis may not be enough if you don’t know the ramifications of it, and ways you can improve your state of mind during those cold winter days and nights.
Here are four things about SAD that you may not know, including ways to address it and hopefully beat it entirely.
1. Research Suggests Lack Of Sunlight Is The Culprit
Most researchers believe it isn’t the cold that gives you the blues, it’s lack of light. Our skin produces vitamin D in response to sun exposure, and we depend on this to support calcium production, which strengthens bones. However, research suggests a lack of vitamin D affects us more than just through lower levels of calcium and softer bones. Research has linked the deficiency to breast and colon cancer, heart disease, and – notably – depression.
Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder
This suggests a simple treatment: increase your exposure to sunlight. If you can’t take an extended months-long vacation to sunnier climes during the winter months, there are alternatives. You can purchase light-therapy devices that expose you to simulated sunlight.
If you use such a device, be careful not to use it at the end of the day. You don’t want to expose yourself to the light in the evening, as this can affect your sleep. Use it earlier in the day, or even first thing in the morning.
It may also make sense to get your vitamin D levels checked – we can do that here in the office. Proper supplementation can help correct them and may improve mood.
2. SAD Can Be Just As Debilitating As More Common Types Of Depression
Seasonal Affective Disorder amounts to more than just feeling a bit down during winter. SAD can range from mild to extremely serious, and in its more extreme forms, it can be just as damaging as any other form of depression.
It’s important to look at treatment as soon as possible after a diagnosis. Treating seasonal affective disorder can be time-dependent. If you’re aware that you may have this condition as winter approaches, start light therapy early. You won’t regret it if you start using your light-therapy device now.
3. SAD Can Masquerade As Exhaustion
If you feel worn out during the winter, and more inclined to avoid contact with other people, you may, in fact, be suffering from seasonal affective disorder without realizing it. Talk to your doctor or functional medicine practitioner and describe your symptoms. Your medical practitioner can suggest avenues of treatment that dramatically improve your enjoyment of winter.
4. SAD Has A Summer Cousin
There is a form of depression that for some individuals strikes during summer. It’s rarer than SAD, but just as debilitating for its victims. Research suggests humidity and heat cause this type of depression, so keeping cool can be extra-important for some people during summer months.