Have you found yourself with a case of the winter blues as of late?
It's no surprise our moods tend to dip in the colder months. There's less sunshine, less activity, and less daylight.
Millions of Americans struggle with winter sadness, but how do you know when it's winter-pattern Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The most at risk for SAD include women, younger people, and those with a family history of depression. Experts say symptoms can last up to five months!
Here are some of the signs of SAD:
- Change in sleep habits - mainly excessive sleep
- Overeating - craving carbs
- Avoiding social activities
- Social withdrawal
Many SAD sufferers describe it as though they feel like they're "hibernating".
Scientists aren't really sure why some people are more prone than others, but they've theorized it has to do with photoreceptors in our eyes.
Those with less-sensitive photoreceptors in their eyes are more susceptible to SAD because they're physically taking in less light. In turn, taking in less light can affect your body's internal clock.
If you think you may have SAD you should make an appointment to talk to your doctor for a formal diagnosis.
There are treatments, both prescribed and over-the-counter, to combat the effects of SAD. Phototherapy can be a useful tool meant to mimic outdoor light. Other treatments include therapy, antidepressant medications, and establishing healthy daily routines.
Your mental health is important. And YOU are important. So prioritize yourself and talk to your doctor if you're feeling a case of the winter blues.