Winter in Bettendorf can guarantee a few things: Seemingly endless snow, bitterly cold temperatures and brutal winds are definitely going to happen. For some individuals, something else happens – seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that develops during the fall, when days become shorter, and lasts until the spring. Researchers estimate that 5 percent of people in the United States are living with SAD, and many of them are women.
What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The short answer is that SAD is caused by fewer daylight hours during the fall and winter. Other factors that contribute to the development of the condition include cold temperatures and precipitation.
What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The symptoms of SAD are the same as clinical depression: sadness, fatigue and disinterest. There are some differences between the two conditions, too, such as:
- Eating more. Individuals living with SAD tend to eat more than those with clinical depression.
- Sleeping more. People living with SAD also are more likely to sleep more.
- SAD goes away when longer hours of daylight return.
Women Have a Higher Risk of SAD
Women have a higher risk of developing SAD. Some researchers believe this is due to the hormonal fluctuations associated with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Other individuals at risk of developing SAD include those with family history and individuals who already have a clinical depression diagnosis or a bipolar disorder diagnosis.
Six Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder
1. Get Outside. For many people, spending time outdoors during the daylight hours can help to ease symptoms of SAD.
2. Let the Light In. Open up the curtains and the blinds, and trim back tree branches that can block the sunlight from getting into your home. In addition to getting outside, some individuals see their SAD symptoms improve with light therapy boxes.
3. Talk to Someone. If you’re struggling with SAD, talk therapy can likely help. Some individuals combine SAD and light therapy for a great benefit. Talk to Dr. Alqulali about your concerns regarding SAD.
4. Exercise. Many individuals living with SAD exercise to reduce their symptoms. Exercise boosts serotonin production, which can help elevate your mood.
5. Eat Some Carbs. Did you know that carbohydrates can help you maintain your serotonin levels? Consume in moderation, of course.
6. Take a Trip to a Sunny Spot. There may be no better way to beat the winter blues than taking a trip to a warm and sunny climate.
Are you living with seasonal affective disorder? Call Dr. Alqulali today at 888-716-0559 for a consultation about your options and available treatments.