It is that time of year where the days get shorter and it gets dark out earlier. Darker days begin to trigger a type of depression, known as seasonal affective disorder.
People who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, also called SAD, may experience an array of symptoms. Some common symptoms range from feeling overly tired, having a lack of motivation and having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. In extreme cases, some people may commit suicide.
“Seasonal affective disorder should not be taken lightly,” Dr Angelos Halaris stated. A professor at Loyola University who specializes in psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences.
About 5 percent of the population suffers form seasonal affective disorder. It has been linked to a reduction in light exposure from shorter days and gray skies, which is thought to cause a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Seasonal affective disorder is more common in the winter months. Lasting from around October to the middle of April.The following are some ways to reduce the risk of developing SAD:
1. Get Outside: Try to spend some time outside each day and get fresh air. It is suggested that you spend around 30 minutes outside each day. Avoid wearing sunglasses and expose the skin on your arms to the sun.
2. Let Light Inside: Your home should always be well-lit. In the mornings, open all your curtains and blinds to allow sunlight to come in. For more severe cases it may be beneficial to purchase a high-intensity light box. Be sure to talk to your doctor before attempting light therapy of your own.
3. Exercise: Getting up and moving around releases endorphins and other brain chemicals that help you feel and gain more energy. It is suggested that you exercise around 30 minutes a day. This could be combined with your time outside.
4. Consider Medication: If you have tried the above three suggestions and your depression still is not improving maybe it is time to consider medication. There are medications that can help ease the symptoms of SAD. If none of the above have helped, maybe it is time to talk with your doctor.