Surely you have people in your relatives and friends who have noticed their own changes with the change of seasons. According to doctors, these people have a kind of mood disorder seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
Signs and symptoms of people with SAD start and end at a certain time each year. Most of these people show signs of decreased energy and mood with the onset of autumn, which lasts until winter. Few people develop SAD in the spring or summer. In the following, we will talk more about seasonal affective disorder
We have said that most people with SAD, suffer from symptoms in autumn and winter, and there are a few whose symptoms begin in spring or summer and become painful.
Read more about the signs and symptoms of SAD:
- Difficulty concentrating
- To become unmotivated
- Feeling guilty
- getting angry
- Become agitated
- Facing appetite changes
- Facing weight changes
- Decreased energy levels
- sleep disorders
- Disinterest in doing things that one has previously enjoyed doing
- Feeling down in most hours of the day and being down almost every day
- Repetitive thoughts indicate death and suicide
Sad symptoms in autumn and winter
Get acquainted with the signs and symptoms of SAD in the fall and winter:
- Increased appetite and cravings for starchy foods and sugar
- Weight gain
- Sleep for a long time
- Excessive fatigue during the day
- Lack of energy
Sad symptoms in spring and autumn
Get acquainted with the signs and symptoms of SAD in spring and autumn:
- Anxiety and worry
- Decreased appetite
- Agitation (restlessness)
- weight loss
When to see a doctor?
Be sure to see your doctor if you have the following information.
If the number of days in which you are lethargic, lacking in energy and unmotivated has increased, or if you have low mood and low energy most of the time, and in a period of time (except for a few limited days), you become unmotivated and lacking in energy. And if you do not enjoy what you used to do, be sure to see your doctor.
It is normal for a person to become unmotivated and low in energy for a few days, but the persistence of these signs and symptoms is alarming, especially if they are accompanied by obvious changes in appetite and sleep pattern disorders.
If you have recurrent days of this low mode, if you take refuge in alcohol on these days, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Which people are more likely to get sad?
People with a positive family history of depression or SAD
The person has a mood disorder such as major depression or bipolar disorder.
People living in areas and countries far from the equator are more prone to sadness. This may be due to the long night in autumn and winter and the long daylight hours in summer.
Identify the causes of changes leading to sad
- Circadian cycle or body biological clock:
In autumn and winter, with a decrease in the duration of sunlight, the winter onset SAD gradually reaches a group of people. This reduction in the duration of the sun’s rays may disrupt your body’s internal clock and cause depression and low mood.
- Melatonin level changes:
Melatonin levels, also called sleep hormones, changes with the seasons, this imbalance in melatonin levels may lead to SAD.
- Serotonin level changes:
The brain has an important neurochemical mediator called neurotransmitter called serotonin. An increase in serotonin causes high mood and happiness and a decrease in it is accompanied by a low mood.
What are the complications?
- Problems at work and at school
- Social withdrawal
- Consumption of materials
- Suicidal idea or suicide attempt
The most important and main step to recover and get rid of SAD is to see a doctor. The most important diagnostic tool of your doctor is to listen carefully to the description of your symptoms. The symptoms in SAD can be similar to many mental disorders and it is the physician’s knowledge and skill that will lead to the correct diagnosis; your doctor may need to help you differentiate correctly and diagnose sad from one or more of the following:
- Clinical examination
- Psychological assessments
- Blood tests
Your doctor may compare your signs and symptoms with some of the DSM5 criteria to get a single, accurate diagnosis.
How is sad treated?
The three main modalities in the treatment of SAD are:
Usually, your doctor will use antidepressant medication to help alleviate your symptoms if you have severe symptoms. Bupropion is said to prevent the recurrence of SAD in the new season in people who have a history of SAD. Other antidepressants are used to treat SAD, and it is best to start the medication each year before the SAD season arrives. It will take a few weeks for the antidepressants to take effect, so be patient. Your doctor may also need to prescribe some medications to find the one that is right for you.
Phototherapy or light therapy is the first step in improving fall onset SAD. Research on the effectiveness of phototherapy in SAD, although small, but shows positive effects. Every morning after waking up, you should sit in a bright box called a light box. This must be in the first few hours of your day. The light in this light box does something similar to natural sunlight on the brain and will affect the brain’s neurotransmitters.
You should not prepare a light box without consulting your doctor.
CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy during which:
- You become acquainted with wrong thoughts and realize that it is wrong thoughts and behaviors that have caused you bad feelings.
- You learn to adapt to SAD
- Use the following methods for mind-body connection:
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Yoga and
- Tai chi
- You will also learn to handle and control your anxiety
With the changes you make in your lifestyle, you will be able to help alleviate the SAD symptoms along with the above treatments.
Physical activity and regular exercise and maintaining body fitness
Light up the room and its surroundings
Getting out of the house, for example, for a short walk in the park and sitting on a park bench in the sun (Of course, with protective glasses and appropriate clothing and sunscreen)
It is emphasized that if you have a history of bipolar disorder, be sure to inform your doctor, because this history will definitely affect the type of medication prescribed and the choice or non-choose light therapy.