Do you find yourself in a low mood when the weather starts to cool every year? Do you brush it off as the “winter blahs” or “holiday blues”? There may be a physiological explanation for this, and there are things you can do to help.
What is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?
SAD is a form of depression that may be triggered by the lack of exposure to direct sunlight that can result from the fall and winter seasons. It occurs more frequently the further you are from the equator. It’s not completely understood why this occurs, but it may be related to drops in serotonin and melatonin levels in response to a lack of sunlight, as well as a disruption of the circadian rhythm.
Diagnosing the Problem
Seasonal Affective Disorder is more than just a bout of melancholy around the holidays – it’s an extended period of depression that can recur each year. If you see a pattern of sadness that revolves around the seasons, speak with your doctor.
There is Help!
Like other types of depression, you should never suffer in silence. Much can be done to improve the situation. Talk with a medical professional and understand that a lack of sunlight exposure may be the underlying cause of seasonal depression. It affects many people, so also know that you are not alone!