What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

seasonal affective disorder

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? Here in Savannah, our weather fluctuates constantly. For instance, this week, we went from 41 degrees and cold, misty rain to looking forward to a 75 degree, sunny Christmas on Saturday. But regardless of temperature and/or precipitation, we can all experience Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

With the winter upon us, many experience not only a change in the air but a change within themselves. Due to the cold weather and the shorter days, people are susceptible to increased sadness. Especially, here in the South, the shorter days can really get to us. The feeling that spring and summer are so far away.

As you have probably already heard from friends and family, the weather feels “gloomy” and some might even say “depressing.” Even though the holidays bring parties and laughter, for some this time of year brings sadness and despair.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately called SAD) is a common occurrence this time of year.

What happens with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

As the seasons change, those with SAD experience depression, which includes symptoms such as apathy, lack of motivation, tiredness, low appetite, social withdrawal (hibernating), and down mood.

Typically, these symptoms begin in the late fall or early winter and dissipate by early spring. Females and those with a family history a mood disorder are more prone to SAD.

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What are some good coping skills for SAD?

Fortunately, there are positive outcomes for those with SAD and because it is seasonal, it will change as the seasons do. Though, this is not all that hopeful for those in the thick of it. I would like to suggest other helpful coping skills:

Go outside anytime there is daylight.

The sun will help your body regulate, improve mood, and help with sleep and energy. Even if it is cold, bundle up and get out there.

Spend time with friends.

One’s natural desire is to cuddle up inside and hibernate. If you want to improve your mood, you must do the opposite and spend time with others to decrease sadness.

Exercise.

Even if you cannot get outside, find a gym to join and get your body moving. This will help produce natural endorphins and help balance your serotonin levels, which will decrease depression.

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Seek out a professional.

If you still are feeling down, please find a counselor. Brief therapy proves effective for those struggling with SAD.

What if you need more support?

If you find that the stress surrounding the season is just too overwhelming for you, please reach out to us at 912.319.5552 or email us. We have counselors trained in helping children, adolescents and teens – and we can help you find ways to alleviate that stress.

Waters Edge Counseling is here for you. We look forward to helping you feel better. Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.