Teens Helping Teens Change the Language of Mental Health

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasons change, and so do we. But why? Why is spring so warming and summer so bright, but autumn and winter fall flat? We see the pattern, but it simply makes no sense! The struggles of daily life cannot be the only reason. We’re fed up and confused. We want answers. We need answers. After doing my research and observing my own life for the past 5 years, I’ve finally concluded I need to learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Definition of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

First off, what is Seasonal Affective Disorder? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that usually occurs during the seasons of autumn and winter.

SAD Statistics

Seasonal Affective Disorder is not necessarily categorized as common. However, it does affect many, many people. According to Psychology Today, approximately 10 million Americans are affected by SAD, and most of those people are women.

Causes

SAD has different theories as to what the cause of it is. The most promising cause that has been studied and tested revolves around light. During the autumn and winter months, there is usually less light. Darkness naturally makes human beings want to sleep, and it also creates a lethargic mood. This can send many people into depressive modes, and it leaves them waiting until spring to receive the necessary amount of light that they need.

Do I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms?

Now we are left with a very important question. How do I know I’m experiencing SAD symptoms? My number one rule is to always ask your doctor first. If you are concerned about your health and your mental state, you must see your doctor to get the most accurate answers. However, there are ways you can monitor and observe your mental health to help you and your doctor decide an appropriate treatment route.

Symptoms

  • Sadness
  • Isolation
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Appetite Change
  • Weight Gain
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Change in Sleeping Patterns
  • Loss of Interest

These are common Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms. These may or may not apply to you, but it is good to review this list, so that you can evaluate your situation better.  

Treatment Options

It’s important to remember that your depressive symptoms and your struggles can be treated. There is all the hope in the world that you can improve.

Light Therapy

According to Verilux, an increased amount of light in a person’s day can make the person feel happier. A therapy lamp can be used to create this effect. You typically use the lamp once a day for 30 minutes. It acts in place of the sun, and it works to boost your mood. You can find some great therapy lamps here, and you can find further instructions on how to use a therapy lamp here. As always, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning light therapy.

Medication

There are medications that can help people with Seasonal Affective Disorder. They must be prescribed by your doctor, and you must use the medication responsibly.

Individual Therapy

Another great treatment option is expressing your feelings to a therapist. You can describe your difficulties and work through them together, at least for the months of the year that you need extra help.

 

To learn more about my experiences with Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression in general, get my free eBook below!

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