Do you feel more sad and gloomy during the cold winter months than anyone else that you know? You may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression that usually begins presenting itself in the fall and winter each year. Read this guide to learn more about this condition. You can click here for more of the latest supplement reviews if you are looking to boost your immune system and overall health during the colder months.

Symptoms Of Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Feelings Of Hopelessness And Worthlessness

  • Thoughts of Suicide

  • Loss of Interest in Activities

  • Withdrawal from Social Interaction

  • Sleep and Appetite Problem

  • Difficulty with Concentrating and Making Decisions

  • Decreased Libido

  • A Lack of Energy

  • Agitation

  • Oversleeping or Difficulty Waking Up In the Morning

  • Nausea

  • A Tendency to Overeat

  • Often With a Craving for Carbohydrates

  • Weight Gain

  • Depressive Seasonal Pattern

Types of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The experts generally agree that there are two major types of seasonal affective disorder. You can suffer either from summer time or wintertime seasonal affective disorder. Although the symptoms are similar, there are a few key differences between winter and summertime SAD. If you suffer from summertime seasonal affective disorder, you will often notice insomnia, a loss of appetite, weight loss, and agitation or anxiety.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Research seems to indicate that more women than men are likely to be diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. Additionally, this condition is diagnosed in more young individuals than in older people. A few factors increase your likelihood to develop this condition. If you have a family member, who suffers from seasonal affective disorder or another type of depression you will be more likely to develop this condition. Additionally, if you already suffer from depression or bipolar disorder you may notice your symptoms being amplified during the colder months.

Finally, if you live far north or south of the equator you may be more likely to develop seasonal affective disorder. The reason is because there is a decrease in sunlight during the winter and longer days during the summer months. Additionally, when you have less exposure to natural sunlight your body will not have sufficient levels of vitamin D, which may contribute to the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Finally, there has been a connection with seasonal affective disorder and individuals who produce an excess of serotonin.

How Is Seasonal Affective Disorder Diagnosed?

When you first visit your doctor to receive a seasonal affective disorder they will probably order a variety of blood tests to rule out any other conditions. This is because this condition often presents symptoms that are similar to a variety of other health conditions. These conditions include hyperthyroidism, bipolar disorder, and mononucleosis. Once your doctor has determined that you do not suffer from any of these conditions they will ask you a variety of questions to determine whether or not you suffer from this disorder. Most importantly, your doctor will try to determine whether your symptoms recur at the same time on a yearly basis.

How Do You Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  • Medication – When you are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, your doctor may prescribe you a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). This antidepressant helps to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder without any of the side effects. However, you should speak to your doctor to determine which antidepressant will be best for you and your body.

  • Light Therapy – when your body receives less exposure to natural sunlight light therapy can be an effective option to treat the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Sitting in front of a light box for 20-60 minutes of exposure to 10,000 Lux of cool-white fluorescent light could make a significant difference to your condition.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – this type of therapy has been proven incredibly beneficial for reducing the appearance of symptoms associated with SAD. This therapy will teach you to identify negative thoughts and replace them with more positive thoughts along with a technique called behavioral activation.

  • Vitamin D – Because most people who suffer from this condition are deficient in vitamin D, including a supplement into your daily routine could make a huge difference to how you feel. Some studies suggest vitamin D supplementation may be as effective as light therapy.

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Jamie Sanders is a freelance writer for many media outlets. She married her soulmate and writer, Dennis Sanders. They live in Boston with their two dogs.

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