Courtesy of accesshealthcareservices.com
Many people experience “winter blues.” The weather turns cold and all they want to do is eat all their favorite comfort foods and hibernate. While this is normal, especially for people living in the Midwest, it can also be a sign of something else.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to the change in seasons that happens around the same time every year. Symptoms, which include tiredness, lack energy, depression, moodiness, and lack of concentration, usually start in the fall and continue into the winter months. However, SAD can also cause you to feel down or depressed in the spring or early summer.
According to Mayoclinic.org, symptoms may include:
Health care professionals aren’t exactly sure why some people suffer from this malady and others don’t. It could have something to do with individual’s biological clock, or circadian rhythm. The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt the body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
Another cause could be the serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Serotonin is produced by sunlight, so the reduction of sunlight could cause a drop in serotonin levels and could trigger depression. The changing seasons can also disrupt melatonin levels, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your health care provider. They may prescribe medication, light therapy, or psychotherapy.
For more information about SAD, visit mayoclinic.org.