Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that becomes more pronounced as winter approaches and daylight shrinks. It is sometimes called “seasonal depression” and is characterized by a bad mood that persists for a long time and affects daily life. The change of seasons often affects our mood and lifestyle. Energy levels, eating habits and sleep patterns can change naturally when the weather is particularly bad outside. We decided to find out where seasonal affective disorder comes from and how to get rid of it.
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression associated with the change of seasons, most often it manifests itself in the off-season. Because it is associated with changing weather, seasonal affective disorder is often a recurring problem and can affect a person every year.
Causes of seasonal affective disorder
There is no exact answer to the question: “What causes SAD?”, But there is an assumption that it depends on the reduction of daylight and the amount of sunlight. It is the lack of a constant source of vitamin D that can reduce the activity of the hypothalamus (part of the brain). It is responsible for releasing hormones, regulating emotional responses and maintaining the internal biological clock, also known as the circadian rhythm.
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder
If you feel worse, you should see a doctor immediately, but before that you can diagnose your own ATS. Here are the most “bright” symptoms of seasonal affective disorder:
Constantly in a bad mood;
Loss of interest in regular activities;
Feelings of despair, guilt or worthlessness;
Refusal of public events;
Sleep is longer than usual;
Increased appetite, especially the desire to eat carbohydrates;
Although depression and seasonal affective disorder have the same symptoms, there are key differences in triggers and life expectancy.
How to help yourself at home
There are a number of simple and effective ways that can be used to treat seasonal affective disorder. Your priority should be to stay healthy and get enough sleep. Here are some more tips on how to overcome seasonal frustration.
Buy light box
Light boxes mimic sunlight and can give you the necessary charge of vitamin D. If you spend 30 minutes a day in front of a light box, it will stimulate your circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin release. You can also increase the amount of light in the house to create a bright and spacious atmosphere.
Essential oils can have a beneficial effect on the area of the brain responsible for mood control. Wild ginger has been shown to activate the serotonergic system in mice by slowing the release of stress hormones. Lavender and bergamot are also known for their calming effects.
Add more movement to your life. Even a small 15-minute workout or a walk in the fresh air will be a great cure for ATS. During physical activity, the brain releases serotonin and dopamine, mood hormones that naturally improve mood and energy levels.
These simple ways will help you cope with seasonal mood swings.