Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
What is SAD?
An estimated 2% to 3% of the general population suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression related to the amount of sunlight we’re exposed to. Often referred to as the "winter blues," SAD is a real medical condition that can affect anyone, even people who are not already predisposed to depression.
People with SAD feel tired and lethargic and may withdraw from friends and family. They may have less interest in activities that they usually enjoy. Other symptoms include inability to concentrate, increased appetite, cravings for sweet and starchy foods, irritability, increased fatigue, decreased interest in work and social activities Feeing SAD? Try these tips to help beat the winter blues.
Daily exposure to bright light (phototherapy) may help balance certain brain chemicals and reset body rhythms. Usually, light therapy involves sitting in front of a high-intensity fluorescent light source that is meant to simulate daylight (2,500 to 10,000 lux, a unit of illumination) at a distance of 1 to 2 feet, for 1 to 2 hours each morning (generally less time with increasing lux values). Your Super Thrifty pharmacist can help you choose the Bright Light Therapy lamp that is appropriate for you.
Regular physical activity helps fight fatigue and depression, especially if you exercise during the day or near light sources. Even when the sky is overcast, an hour spent outside during the day can help ease symptoms of SAD..
Seek the sun
Even during the winter months, go outside as often as possible. Even weak sunlight and light reflected off snow can increase your exposure to light and help ease symptoms of SAD. Arrange indoor spaces to maximize your exposure to light, and look for sunlit windows for reading, eating, or working..
Be aware of your moods
Self-awareness can alleviate some of the feelings of distress during these seasons. Be aware of your moods and energy level and attempt to maintain perspective. .
Having real trouble beating the winter blues? You may be more that SAD. If symptoms persist or worsen see your health care professional.