For most people, especially those who take advantage of outdoor activities and sports, the winter season can indeed be a ‘wonderland’ of fun and pleasure. However, for some people, it could have them singing the blues – the cold and dark blues. In fact, the winter season could lead to serious depression and there is a name for it – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). What type of disorder is SAD?
Is SAD a real disorder?
SAD is a form of depression linked to the change in seasons. According to a senior scientific advisor at Byron Health Group, for most people the ‘winter blues’ are only a short-term problem, but for one in five people, the colder temperatures that come with winter as well as less sunshine, it is connected to a deeper condition. The exact causes of seasonal depression are unknown, but some of the symptoms may be caused by the pineal gland, a small structure in the brain that serves as our biological clock. In this case, when daylight decreases, the pineal gland reacts by secreting more melatonin, a hormone known to cause drowsiness and fatigue.
What are the 5 signs of mental illness?
- Long-lasting sadness or irritability.
- Extremely high and low moods.
- Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety.
- Social withdrawal.
- Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.
During the winter season, SAD symptoms can sap your energy and make you feel moody. As the season progresses they could become more severe. Symptoms specific to Winter-Onset SAD may include oversleeping, appetite changes (especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates), weight gain and low energy.
What makes you mentally unstable?
Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal. Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events.
According to the Mayo Clinic, other signs and symptoms of general SAD could also include:
– Feeling depressed most of the day
– Losing interest in activities you enjoy
– Having problems with sleeping
– Feeling sluggish or agitated
– Having difficulty concentrating
– Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
– Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
SAD is diagnosed more often in women than in men and occurs more frequently in younger adults than in older adults. There are ways to address the disorder before symptoms go too far, including light therapy, medications, psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, meditation and more. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to serious problems if not treated. Those affected may experience social withdrawal, school or work problems, substance abuse, other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders, as well as suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder should be taken seriously. If any of the above information speaks to you, please reach out and contact a doctor – for yourself or somebody you care about. Here are a few websites you can contact if you or somebody you know has mental illness: