What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

By: Kassandra Lora

Once the seasons change from fall to winter and the days become shorter, some individuals may notice a change in their moods. Some of these mood changes may be a slight feeling of being “down” but other times, these mood changes can be more severe and can have a significant effect on a person. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that usually affects a person once the seasons are changing. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “SAD symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer; this is known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression.” It is not as common for someone to develop SAD symptoms during the spring and summer months, although it is still possible.

Some significant depression symptoms may include:

•           feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day

•           losing interest in activities

•           changes in appetite or weight

•           having problems with sleep

•           having low energy

•           feeling worthless or hopeless

•           having difficulty concentrating

•           having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

Although Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression, to develop the diagnosis of having SAD, you must have the symptoms of major depression or must have some of the symptoms listed above. You must also have these depressive episodes occur to you during a specific season for a least two consecutive years.

Individuals who are more susceptible to developing SAD are more commonly those who live further north. Furthermore, according to the Nation Institute of Mental Health, “SAD is more common in people with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, especially bipolar II disorder, which is associated with recurrent depressive and hypomanic episodes.” SAD is also more commonly found in women than men.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a severe condition, though scientists cannot understand what exactly causes SAD. Scientists have done the research and have suggested that people with SAD may have reduced serotonin activity, regulating mood. Researchers have also indicated how lack of sunlight in people with SAD can affect their serotonin levels, affecting their mood. Although these are all possible causes and effects which determined why individuals may have SAD it is still unclear if these are the exact reason. However, these causes and effects can be useful when focusing on treatment.Treatments that may help people with SAD include light therapy, psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, and vitamin D.

Speak to your health care provider about which treatment or combination is most suitable for you. If you or someone you know is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices.

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

Image Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2019/03/how-i-learned-cope-seasonal-affective-disorder-grad-school

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Not Just the Winter Blues

winter-depression1

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Not Just the Winter Blues

By Jessica Burgess

 

As spring finally approaches, many are hopeful for longer and brighter days in hopes that it will heighten their mood and ease them of the ‘winter blues’. But how typical are these mood shifts and when are they cause for concern?  Season Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in season, often goes overlooked by the average person and just considered normal winter blues. However, SAD has many of the same symptoms and risks as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

 

Most people with SAD tend to show symptoms beginning in the fall and ending before spring but some show symptoms in the spring and progress through the summer months. Either way, the disorder follows a pattern of seasonal change, where the symptoms get worse towards the end of the season. Symptoms of SAD include:

  • Feelings of depression almost every day, all day
  • Sleeping problems
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of hopeless, worthlessness or guilt
  • Lower interest in activities you used to find interesting
  • Low energy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

 

If you think or someone you know is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

 

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

Image: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=3BA866A3E20A6419AA4CFBF4904BAA4DED3C0345&thid=OIP.vZckWdIpb71mGl5KpMkQLQHaE7&mediaurl=http%3A%2F%2Fdocakilah.files.wordpress.com%2F2011%2F01%2Fwinter-depression1.jpg&exph=399&expw=600&q=winter+depression&selectedindex=73&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

By: Estephani Diaz

Summer is officially over, which means kids are back in school and sweater weather is around the corner. Pumpkin spice is back on the menu at coffee shops, and no more unbearable 90 degree weather. For some, the fall season is the best time of the year, but for others, the change of season can be a complete mood change.

About three million will be faced with Seasonal Affective Disorder, known as SAD, this year in the U.S. alone. It is a type of depression that comes from the change in weather at the end of the year. When the days become shorter, many become depressed, lose interest in activities, over sleep, have thoughts of suicide, etc. Others will gain weight, have low energy, and even turn into “hibernation mood.”

SAD is treatable with therapy, psychotherapy, and medication, if needed. There are also things you can do at home to brighten up your day: open your window blinds to let sunlight in, socialize with friends, go out to eat, exercise daily, get enough sleep, fragrance diffuser, etc. In addition, one could look forward to the holidays to get their minds off the cold weather.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.