Sad that summer is over?
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
We’re all entitled to grieve the end of the brightest part of the year, before settling down into the Autumn / Winter months.
But if you’re experiencing a persistent low mood, irritability, a lack of energy or loss of interest in your normal activities – there is definitely a reason not to ignore those feelings.
What you may be experiencing, is SAD.
What is SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, as described by the NHS.
It is sometimes known as the “winter depression” because the symptoms become more severe at that time of year.
We all feel a little sad at times in the doom and gloom of dark nights and early mornings, but if you’re feeling sad quite frequently – you could be suffering from this seasonal disorder.
People with SAD can sometimes feel guilty or worthless because of the condition.
Getting up when it’s still dark outside can be tough for many of us, but if you’re struggling often and sleeping for longer than normal, you could have SAD.
Craving carbs and gaining weight are also common symptoms.
But just why do people get SAD?
The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but according to the NHS, it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight.
It is thought this lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus from working properly.
This may result in the production of more melatonin (making you more sleepy) and less serotonin (making you feel depressed) as well as disrupting your body’s internal clock.
Can I treat SAD?
There are a number of ways you can manage your symptoms of SAD – and the treatment does not necessarily have to be intense.
The method of treatment will depend on your symptoms, but can include simple lifestyle changes such as exercising or getting as much natural light as possible.
You can even get a light box which simulates exposure to sunlight.
Light therapy may also be recommended, and in some cases, antidepressants.
But it is important you speak to your GP or therapist before going down the medication route.
Whichever method of treatment you choose, it is important to remember there is always help available for the way you are feeling, and to reach out to others if and when you need to.