If you've ever wondered why you generally feel down during the winter season, there could be a genuine explanation. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a real thing, and affects many people when the days become shorter.
We all have good days and bad days, and the weather can generally reflect that, but how can you tell if you are suffering with SAD?
Some symptoms of the disorder include a persistent low mood, a loss of interest in everyday activities you normally enjoy and day-to-day tasks, struggling to get up in a morning, and gaining weight.
For a lot of people, these symptoms can be overwhelming and affect them significantly.
It's probably more common than you think - and although it's not fully understood how it is caused there are some theories behind it.
According to the NHS, the following reasons are often considered to be causes of the disorder.
- Production of melatonin – "melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels"
- Production of serotonin – "serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression"
- Body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) – "your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD"
So what should you do if you think that you might be struggling with SAD? If it's taking over your day-to-day life, you should speak to your GP. They will be able to offer you beneficial advice and services.
It's important to take your feelings seriously. Reach out to family and friends if you're struggling to cope, and take some time out to do things you really enjoy.
For more information on SAD visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/
Tagged in Mental Health