Have you heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression which generally affects more women than men. People suffering from SAD may believe they are experiencing 'winter blues'. However, SAD can affect people during any season. SAD generally occurs around the same time each year.
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There are a variety of other factors which can cause a person to experience SAD. Some experts believe that the main cause of SAD is due to lack of exposure to sunlight. During the winter months, there are fewer hours of daylight and people living in colder climates are likely to stay inside more during this time. Research has shown that melatonin production increases when people are not exposed to enough light. An excess amount of the chemical melatonin can cause depressive symptoms.
Some of the symptoms one may experience when suffering from SAD include:
• Sleeping for too many hours
• Increased cravings for carbohydrates
• Loss of interest in activities/hobbies
• Feelings of Hopelessness
There are treatments which can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of SAD. These include:
• Adding more artificial light to your home or workspace.
• Moving furniture and opening shades to let in more natural light to your home
• Increasing physical activity
• Going outside more often
• Spending time with family and friends
• Speaking with a mental health professional
If you are experiencing symptoms of SAD for an extended period of time (several days) please consider speaking with a mental health professional. Kenneth Young Center offers a variety of services for individuals dealing with depression. You can contact our Intake line at (847) 524-8800, ext. 136.
For information about services at Kenneth Young Center, visit www.kennethyoung.org.