The ones suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or “SAD,” have a really hard time when it comes to coping with winter. And although Spring is just a few days away, the peak of the SAD is in February.
The SAD is usually triggered by the lack of daylight exposure. The fact that it gets dark before most people leave their office can turn into an overwhelming thing. Symptoms resemble the ones of depression. They include sadness, the urge to sleep more, general fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
The main difference between the two is reflected in the relationship the subject has with food. If depression is characterised by loss of appetite, the ones suffering from SAD crave carbohydrates like there’s no tomorrow.
The SAD is most common for people in their 20s and 30s. As a potential treatment is concerned, patients are advised to try to spend 30 minutes every day next to a full-spectrum light box, mimics daylight. Sufferers are also encouraged not to minimise social interactions despite feeling the urge to do so, and also to never skip their workout sessions. Exercise doubled by social interaction can prove to be one of the most helpful things one can do.
Traditional therapy with a psychiatrist may also be helpful, meditation must also be considered. However whenever these don’t seem to work, antidepressants represent a pretty common measure.
Researchers also encourage everybody doesn’t matter if they suffer from SAD or not, to embrace the cold and the snow by engaging in winter sports and other activities so as to keep themselves physically active and mentally optimistic.
Experts explain that this disorder is mainly caused by a sensitivity to decreased daylight hours and may be strongly related to changes regarding the normal body functions, like serotonin and melatonin levels changing as a consequence of one’s less exposure to sunlight.
Moreover recent research also connect (seasonal) depression to lower Vitamin D levels, which are more common among the ones who have darker skin tones, among obese patients, or among those who are hospitalised or institutionalized for rather long periods of time; Those who take medications that accelerate the metabolism of Vitamin D are also the list for the low level risk.
According to Vitamin D Council, research has been unable to prove in which way Vitamin D levels cause depression, or if low Vitamin D levels are a consequence of someone being depressed. Nevertheless Vitamin D is involved in the creation of serotonin and dopamine.