The winter season can affect us all differently. While some people embrace the colder temperatures and coziness inside their homes, others can struggle with the change in environment. It is especially common to experience periods of sadness or loneliness after the holidays are over.
While being sad on occasion is a common part of life, persistent negative feelings can indicate that something is going on that needs to be investigated. Seasonal affective disorder is common in the United States, affecting up to 20% of the population.
Want more details about seasonal affective disorder, also called SAD? Get the scoop from the AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte team below.
Who Is at Risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD tends to affect people in adulthood, though it is always possible for children and teenagers to feel its effects as well. It is also a more common diagnosis in women than in men. Seasonal affective disorder tends to follow a seasonal pattern, appearing as the fall and winter season arrives and then fading away when spring rolls around.
This is partly due to the change in available sunlight in the winter season. Our bodies need to be exposed to natural sunlight every day to help balance our hormones and keep our circadian rhythm intact. Since there is less overall daylight in the winter season, we tend to spend more time indoors. In response, our bodies can start to overproduce a hormone called melatonin, which can cause symptoms similar to depression.
Symptoms Associated With SAD
- Increased sleepiness or daytime drowsiness
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- Social withdrawal
- Feelings of guilt
What Can I do About Seasonal Affective Disorder?
If you are worried about your symptoms or are struggling with your mental health in any way, it is really important that you visit with a medical provider or your care team right away. Treatment looks different for every person, so having a proper evaluation and discussion with your doctor is crucial.
While medication might work well for some people, others might thrive with some lifestyle changes! If your treatment options seem to be working for you, you can relax in the knowledge that the majority of SAD symptoms disappear when spring and summer come back. If your symptoms don’t go away, you could be dealing with another form of depression. Visit with your care team right away for support.
Tips for Preventing SAD Symptoms
- Stand in the sun more often.
- Discover a new hobby to keep you engaged.
- Practice more self-care, like exercising and getting enough sleep.
- Visit with a doctor if your symptoms start to affect your everyday life.
Does winter make you feel down? Come see us at AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte to visit with our care team.