What is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?
SAD is a type of depression that people get around certain times of the year, it’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Is SAD A Mental Illness?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a legitimately recognized type of mental depression that has become common.
From the US Library of Medicine: Dr. Rosenthal: Six percent of the US population, primarily in northern climates, is affected by SAD in its most marked form. Another 14 percent of the adult US population suffers from a lesser form of seasonal mood changes, known as winter blues.1 Of course, seasonality affects people all over the world. The prevalence of SAD in Oslo, Norway, was reported as 14 percent in contrast to 4.7 percent in New York City.1 In fact, someone may have winter blues while living in southern climates and convert to full blown SAD if he or she moves to a northern climate.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
Common symptoms of SAD involve…
- Sleeping too much or having insomnia
- Decreased or total lack of a libido
- Having very little energy
- Thinking suicidal thoughts
- Feeling hopeless
- Withdrawal from other people
Some people with SAD will get to a point where they simply cut off all communication with other people, stop caring about their weight and overeat, or even stop eating or doing anything at all except sit alone at home, not even able to develop the energy to get up and turn on the TV or eat.
What Causes SAD?
Since most of the cases of SAD happen in cloudy countries or areas, it has been said that a lack of light can cause SAD, usually in the winter. Also called Holiday or Winter Depression.
How Do You Treat SAD?
Exposure to light or light therapy has been used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
From the Mayo Clinic: Light therapy is a way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and certain other conditions by exposure to artificial light. SAD is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time each year, usually in the fall or winter. In some people with bipolar disorder, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of mania or a less intense form of mania (hypomania), and fall and winter can be a time of depression.
How Do You Deal With Sadness?
Normal sadness usually comes from not feeling good about yourself, not achieving your goals, feeling like you have no purpose, having family members or loved ones die or maybe other people are putting you down, humiliating you, taunting you. We all get sad sometimes.
Some things to curb your sadness and motivate you might be…
- Hobbies – Work on a hobby that you like, like crafting or reading a certain book,
- Write It Down – Write or type down what’s making you sad
- Talk To Someone – A family member, an old friend or even and old acquaintance, sometimes we need to find someone to talk to who isn’t in any of our circles
- Family – For many people, sadness is related to family issues; but for some, it’s related to not being around their family enough – planning time and spending that time with family can help.
- Friends – You don’t ‘need’ friends to be happy, but usually having a friend means having someone to talk to
- Dating – A lot of sadness is from relationships or being broke up with, and the cause of lot of suicides; just going on a casual date to meet someone new can help
- Eating Healthier – Simply keeping your SAD eating routine but deciding to have a salad with dinner or in place of dinner can have a positive effect
- Exercising – You don’t have to go to a gym, or go running outside, you can do pretend jump rope indoors, or jumping jacks or pushups (even if it’s just pushups on your knees), working out for just 3 minutes to get your heart pumping can help
- Motivational Music – Put some motivational music on, uplifting songs from Youtube or even motivation speeches
- Try Something New – It’s possible you are sad simply because life has gotten too ordinary; you are doing the same thing every morning and night and you feel like you are just trudging through life on autopilot… and doing something new, even just going to a new place in town or drive outside the city is enough. A new type of food, a new restaurant, a vacation. Anything you can think of that is something you haven’t done before
Check through this list and see if any of these things are missing in your life, and take small steps but don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s OK to take it slow.