BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
Winter comes and with it, the end-of-year celebrations, holidays that evoke happiness, warmth of home and the emotion of sharing with family. However, this time can generate SAD among us. Do you know what it is and why it affects us?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) “is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons –SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year  .” According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with no longer daylight hours  ”.
Some of the symptoms include “feelings of sadness, lack of energy, loss of interest in usual activities, oversleeping and weight gain  ”, and according to Mayo Clinic:
- Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day.
- Having problems with sleeping too much.
- Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain.
- Having difficulty concentrating.
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty.
- Having thoughts of not wanting to live.
According to MedlinePlus  , SAD “occurs in 0.5 to 3% of individuals in the general population; it affects 10 to 20% of people with major depressive disorder and about 25% of people with bipolar disorder”. Additionally, “some individuals have a condition known as subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder or seasonality, which is more common than seasonal affective disorder. These individuals have only mild changes in mood that correspond with the changes in seasons.”
Mental Health America  , reports these figures among Americans:
- In a given year, about 5% of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression.
- Four out of five people who have seasonal depression are women.
- The main age of onset of seasonal depression is between 20 and 30 years of age, however, symptoms can appear earlier.
- The prevalence of seasonal depression is anywhere from 0-10% of the population, depending on the geographic region.
- Typically, the further one is from the equator, the more at risk they are for seasonal depression.
SAD is so common, we all can suffer from it, however, it is not something without a solution, so we recommend some steps  that you can take to overcome this situation and be able to continue enjoying this season with peace of mind in your emotional wellbeing:
- Talk with your doctor.
- Ready/Prepare your mind for the winter.
- Try light from a lamp.
- Use dawn simulators.
- Prioritize social activities.
- Add aromatherapy to your treatment plan.
- Stick to a schedule.
- Get moving.
- Let the sunshine in.
- Consider avoiding alcohol.