Does colder weather get you down? For many people, the shorter days and long, dark nights of fall and winter can lead to a mild or severe depression known as seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Anyone of any age can develop SAD, although women in their 20s are especially vulnerable. If you notice symptoms like weight gain, daytime sleepiness, increased irritability and anxiety, and social withdrawal in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to seek treatment for SAD.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of seasonal depression triggered by the change in seasons, primarily winter. More than half a million Americans experience a winter depression but are better come summer. It is important to treat SAD, because all forms of depression limit people's ability to live their lives to the fullest, to enjoy their families.
Symptoms of SAD include:
Weight gain: Cravings for sweet and starchy foods lead to excess weight.
Daytime fatigue: People with SAD are tired during the day and have less energy. They may also find themselves sleeping a lot, but getting no relief from their fatigue. With SAD, you eat more and sleep more - It's hibernation-like.
Increased irritability and anxiety: People with SAD worry more about everyday events and can be easily irritated. They can have trouble concentrating, too.
Social withdrawal: Those with SAD prefer to be alone; they shun the company of friends and family and do not participate in activities they normally enjoy. Often their social behavior is hard to understand.
SAD is treatable - more on the various treatment methods in the full article.