The winter blues? This could be SAD | Health, Medicine and Fitness
SUNDAY, Jan. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — If winter is getting you down, you might be suffering from a form of depression called SAD.
It’s short for seasonal affective disorder.
SAD causes mood swings in the fall and winter, when there is less sunlight, and symptoms usually lessen in the spring. But the American Psychiatric Association says that SAD goes beyond “winter blues”. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe and interfere with daily life.
These symptoms may include feeling sad or depressed; loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed; sleeping a lot more but not feeling rested; feeling worthless or guilty; and difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions. And, well known to many, SAD can also cause carbohydrate cravings and other appetite changes.
It may even elicit thoughts of death or suicide.
The good news is that there are several treatments for SAD, including antidepressants, talk therapy, and light therapy.
Light therapy involves spending 20 minutes or more a day in front of a box that emits very bright light, usually first thing in the morning. Many people begin to benefit from light therapy within a week or two, and treatment usually continues through the winter. Some people start light therapy in early fall to prevent SAD.
For many, increased sun exposure can also help. This may involve spending time outdoors or arranging your home or office to expose yourself to outside light during the day.
Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and staying connected (such as volunteering, participating in group activities, and getting together with friends and family) can also help fight SAD.
If you have symptoms of SAD, see a healthcare professional. If you feel your depression is severe or if you are having suicidal thoughts, contact a doctor immediately, seek help at the nearest emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, advised the American Psychiatric Association.
The US National Institute of Mental Health has more on SAD.
SOURCE: American Psychiatric Association, press release
This article was originally published on consumer.healthday.com.
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