Have you ever noticed that you feel blue during the winter? On days when it is cloudy do you feel more depressed than usual? When you must spend large amounts of time indoors do you find your mood changes?
If you answered yes to these questions you could suffer from a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. The fact that many people feel sad or down during the winter months is not new. It has only been within the last few years that this condition was defined as a true medical issue.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can cause an individual to feel depressed, fatigued and lethargic. The cause for this disorder is often linked to the long nights and short days of winter. That said; Seasonal Affective Disorder can actually be reversed in some people. In those instances, people may experience depression during summer or winter.
Fall and winter based Seasonal Affective Disorder includes such symptoms as anxiety, a loss of energy, depression, weight gain, oversleeping and social withdrawal. Spring and winter based Seasonal Affective Disorder can be much different. In this form of the condition, the person may experience insomnia, agitation, weight loss and even an increased sex drive. The single symptom that tends to strike individuals with this condition is depression. There are rare instances when symptoms may be reversed. In this form of the condition, the individual may experience mania, hyperactivity and increased levels of social activity.
Some people are more at risk for developing Seasonal Affective Disorder than others. This condition typically develops during young adulthood. Women tend to experience this disorder more frequently than men. Furthermore, people who live in northern locations may be more at risk for developing Seasonal Affective Disorder than those living in southern locations. Genetics may also play a role.
When the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder continue for days without relief, it is important to seek medical advice and treatment. Without proper medical treatment, the symptoms of this disorder due tend to grow more severe. Serious outcomes of this condition can include feelings of hopeless that eventually lead to suicide.
Seasonal Affective Disorder cannot be prevented. Certain methods can be used to cope with the effects and symptoms of this disorder. Getting outside, making sure you receive plenty of natural light, regular exercise, socialization and practicing stress management techniques can help you to head off the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder before they become more severe.