Seasonal affective disorder – What You Should Know

It’s that time of year again when the leaves change color and the air gets a little bit colder. While the seasonality of weather varies from person to person, for some people it will be their favorite time of the year to stay home, curl up with a good book, and have a little peace and quiet. But for others, that time of year can be a cause for concern.
For some people, the change of seasons represents the beginning of a new stage in their lives. For others, it’s a time when they feel particularly low. They might even describe the change as depressing. Regardless, it’s important to understand that seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a treatable condition. But the way you feel during this time of year can be quite different from what your doctor would have you believe.
If you’re feeling blue this time of year, it’s likely because you’re experiencing seasonal affective disorder. It’s also worth noting that not everyone who has SAD develops the condition. If you’re concerned about this and want to learn more about seasonal affective disorder, keep reading.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

an adult at home off mood

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition in which a person’s mood changes according to the season. This is often accompanied by changes in the way the brain functions.
The mood changes may range from feelings of sadness in the fall to extreme joy in the spring. The brain’s reward circuits are fully activated during the winter months, when we’re most likely to experience these changes. As the weather warms up, activity in the reward circuits drops and you feel a sense of sadness.
The seasons also influence other areas of the body, including the skin’s color and sweating. The skin becomes more dry and less oily during the winter months. This is likely because our body’s need for water is lower during this time.

When is it diagnosed?

This is usually when you’re in your 20s or 30s. You’re likely feeling better during this time and have your symptoms under control.
However, you may still want to discuss your feelings with your doctor to be sure you aren’t experiencing Replay. In that case, you’ll likely be diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder when you’re in your 40s.

How is seasonal affective disorder diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely ask you about your symptoms, as well as do a medical history. Along with a physical, your doctor will probably ask you to complete a questionnaire about your feelings and patterns during different times of the year. Your doctor will likely use this information to help diagnose your condition. One possible test to detect SAD is the dye test.
This is where you dye your hair blond and wear it for a few weeks while keeping an eye out for a change in your hair color. If your doctor suspects you have SAD, you can expect to be given a number of tests to rule out other conditions, including an electroencephalogram (EEG) to detect symptoms and a blood test to check for low levels of vitamin B-12 and folate.

The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder

The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can vary from person to person. They can also vary on a cycle. You may not experience any symptoms at one time, but may experience them several times throughout the year.
You may have symptoms during the winter months, such as:  Fatigue, Mood changes, Skin dryness, Skin color change, Weight gain.

The treatment for seasonal affective disorder

There’s no sure way to treat seasonal affective disorder. All you can do is try to minimize the symptoms.
You can do that by:
  • Getting enough sleep, you may like to see the best to do to get enough sleep.
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet .
  • Keeping your stress level down.
  • Avoiding exposure to direct sunlight – wearing sunscreen when out in the sun.
  • Using a humidifier in your home to keep your air temperature lower.
  • Getting your blood pressure checked regularly to make sure it’s not getting too high.

The long-term effects of seasonal affective disorder

Many people with seasonal affective disorder eventually get over their condition. But for others, it’s something that stays with them for the rest of their lives. For these people, the long-term effects of seasonal affective disorder can be pretty serious such as causing insomnia.
There are a few possible long-term effects of seasonal affective disorder, including: Mood disorders, including major depression. ADD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Anxiety disorders. Substance use disorders. Hormone changes that can occur during and after treatments for other conditions. Folate and B-12 deficiency, which can occur as a result of untreated or inadequately treated tiredness.

Conclusion

If you’re experiencing blue moods during the winter months, you’re not alone. There are a few reasons why, and it’s worth noting that the changes in your mood aren’t permanent.
Your brain is able to tell the difference between winter and spring, and to regulate your mood. That’s why you feel happy when the weather changes and you start to feel depressed when it’s cold.
If you’re experiencing this mood change during the winter months, it’s likely that you have seasonal affective disorder. The best way to deal with it is to avoid social interaction and spend more time with your family and friends during the warmer months.
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