Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression because many of the symptoms are like major depression, but it differs from major depression and regular depression because it only affects people during the winter months. It’s thought to be due to lack of sunshine.
This condition usually begins late in the fall or the start of winter. This makes sense because that’s when there is less sunshine in many parts of the world. The lack of sunlight causes your body to get out of sync.
The signs of SAD include:
* Sleeping too much
* Food cravings
* Weight gain
Sometimes SAD is diagnosed when it’s mild bipolar disorder, so if you have these symptoms you should seek attention from a professional trained in these things such as a psychiatrist or therapist. However, you can start with your regular doctor.
Spring and Summer SAD
There is also a little-known condition called reverse SAD or summer SAD that affects people in the spring and summer. However, some believe that this might really be a type of bipolar disorder.
The symptoms of reverse SAD are:
* Lack of appetite
* Weight loss
Some people can become almost manic in the summertime due to the additional light being too much for their system. These people feel more depressed in the winter than the summer, but still have issues as mentioned above in the summer.
Realize that it’s normal to feel down and even up sometimes. The way to know if you need help is if it’s interfering with your normal life. If you can’t get to work, focus at work, and function in society or get along with your family and friends, and you are feeling hopeless, then you must seek professional assistance.
There is also help for winter SAD such as using a natural spectrum light and possibly short-term medications. If you have summer SAD, you want to find out what else may be going on. There are ways to get your body back in sync with circadian rhythms. Plus, it’s best to be diagnosed by a professional to ensure that you don’t have something more serious.