Stephanie Snyder at email@example.com shared with Healthy Lombard that with the shorter days and colder temperatures on the horizon, many people are experiencing the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder, most commonly known as SAD. But did you know that this health condition can strike at any time of the year? While most people associate the condition with the winter months, many individuals experience SAD symptoms during the summer, fall, and spring months. Here are four of the most common SAD signs that you should watch out for and how you can take action if you are concerned.
Weight Gain or Loss
Whether you gain or lose weight due to your struggle with SAD is mostly dependent on what time of the year you are experiencing the symptoms. During the winter or fall, sufferers are more likely to notice an increase in their appetite. This will naturally lead to a higher chance of weight gain.
Conversely, SAD symptoms during the spring or summer months are more likely to manifest themselves as a loss of appetite. This will lead to weight loss if you are not intentional about nourishing your body with the food you need to function properly.
Disruptions in Sleep Patterns
A hallmark of SAD at any time of the year is the disruption it brings to your sleep patterns. Like the appetite symptom, how your body reacts is predicated by the season.
During the winter and fall months, more people tend to see a need for more sleep. The low energy associated with winter SAD symptoms translates into sufferers feeling the longing to just stay in bed. During the summer and spring, sufferers of SAD are more likely to have problems sleeping, often complaining of insomnia.
Difficulty Concentrating and Loss of Interest
Regardless of the time of the year, people with SAD also report difficulty in concentrating. Many sufferers indicate that they have a foggy brain due to their condition, making it difficult to focus or recall basic information.
Besides, those with SAD also often display a loss of interest in activities used to bring them happiness. This loss of interest is related to the reported increase in fatigue. It is simply more comfortable for some people to stay home in bed than to get motivated to do things that once brought them joy.
Feelings of Depression or Anxiety
One of the most concerning symptoms of SAD is the accompanying feelings of depression and anxiety. Mental health issues are a significant problem that is exacerbated by SAD. An overwhelming feeling of sadness that cannot be pinpointed to specific external events is a distinguishing element of depression.
You may also be experiencing SAD if you frequently feel agitated or manic. This is particularly true if you noticed that there is a seasonal component to your feelings. If you are having thoughts of suicide, you must seek help right away.
What to Do if You Suspect You or a Loved One is Struggling with SAD
The good news is that there are many options available to people struggling with the symptoms of SAD. The traditional line of treatment is the prescription of antidepressants. Doctors will usually only prescribe the antidepressant for severe cases of the disorder, preferring to try to treat the root of the issue by using other treatments that do not deliver the same level of side effects.
If you are not ready to go down the medication path, you may consider trying light therapy. This type of treatment generally begins to work within a few days with no side effects. Being diligent about getting enough natural light during the dark winter months can also help considerably. You can also consider a depression counseling Canada service so that a professional can help you to work through the symptoms and find practical solutions.
The critical takeaway is that there are options to help you find relief from SAD symptoms. Understanding why you may be struggling during certain times of the year will help you make the changes needed to feel more like yourself. You do not have to accept these symptoms as normal seasonal feelings.
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