Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Changing Seasons and Feeling SAD

It's Fall again, the leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and we're getting close to turning back our clocks. This has been the longest period of Daylight Saving Time in history, and its been something of a blessing to have a few extra weeks of lengthened daylight time in which to move around. But when the change over to regular time happens this weekend many people will start to notice an old familiar feeling returning...depression. Mood swings are sometimes linked to changes in the season and the depression that often starts this time of year even has its own name...Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

The symptoms of SAD are very similar to other types of depression:

1. Feeling sad or depressed
2. Lack of energy
3. Feeling more tired or less well-rested than normal
4. Weight gain (often accompanied with cravings for sweets or other carbohydrates)

People living in more Northerly latitudes of the country seem to suffer somewhat more as do some ethnic groups. Younger persons and women also seem to be at a greater risk of developing SAD.

The good news is that SAD is treatable. A combination of psychotherapy and light therapy and in severe cases possibly antidepressant medication can be very effective at reducing the symptoms of SAD.

So don't feel you "just have to live with" your Fall/Winter blues, you may be suffering from SAD and there's something that can be done about it besides just waiting to feel better again in the Spring!