Navigating Seasonal Depression

As winter drags on through January, many are starting to feel down. Seasonal depression, officially known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is often considered the culprit behind this seasonal slump. Though most commonly experienced in the Winter, it is possible to experience SAD in the summer as well. SAD comes with many of the same symptoms as regular depression, such as low energy, irritability, loss of motivation and a feeling of listlessness. Much like depression, symptoms vary from person to person. Someone suffering from SAD could experience some or only a few of the associated symptoms all with varying levels of severity. It’s interesting to note that SAD symptoms can also vary depending on the time of year you’re suffering from it. SAD is very common, with over 3 million cases of it reported each year. Anyone can suffer from SAD, but individuals with bipolar disorder or depression are more prone to it. There is no concrete cause for SAD, but some professionals believe it could have to do with your circadian rhythm. On the surface level it does make sense, when the sun is gone and the environment becomes bleak and bleary, it makes sense for that atmosphere to seep into your mood. There is no easy fix to SAD, but some treatments that can help are light therapy and psychotherapy. Sun lamps mimic a sunrise when turning on and can be a great way to help prevent symptoms. It is difficult to professionally diagnose SAD, however if you’re experiencing symptoms that affect your everyday life or your well-being, it never hurts to reach out to a professional for help. Especially in dark times it can be difficult to focus on anything but the pain you’re feeling, but it’s important to remember that the sun will always eventually shine again.