I defiantly notice a fundamental change in mood with some clients over the winter months. Along with a possible association with winter or an emotional memory attached to this time of year that a client may be experiencing, something else can also happen. A Seasonal affective disorder!

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during a specific season, typically winter. The symptoms of SAD can include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of energy, as well as changes in appetite and sleep patterns.

The exact cause of SAD has yet to be fully understood. Still, it is thought to be related to changes in the amount of daylight we receive during the winter months, which can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm and cause a decrease in the production of serotonin and melatonin. These two essential neurotransmitters regulate mood and sleep.

SAD is more common in women than men, and it tends to occur in people living in areas with long, dark winters. Some people may also be more susceptible to SAD if they have a family history of depression or preexisting mental health conditions.

Treatment for SAD typically involves a combination of light therapy, psychotherapy, and in some cases, medication. Light therapy involves sitting in front of a unique lamp that emits bright light, which can help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and improve mood. Psychotherapy can help individuals learn coping strategies for managing symptoms of depression, while medication, such as antidepressants, can help alleviate more severe symptoms.

In addition to treatment, several lifestyle changes can help alleviate the symptoms of SAD. These include regular exercise, spending time outdoors during daylight hours, eating a healthy diet, and practising relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of SAD, seeking help is essential. With proper support, managing SAD and enjoying a fulfilling life year-round is possible.


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