As most of you know my late husband committed suicide.Â I believe that SAD was a factor in his death.Â Every year around Sept he would get depressed.Â He hated winter and the gloomy days.Â He would not go to the Doctor for help.Â If you know someone that has these symptoms please call their Doctor.Â Go to the Cleveland Clinic website for further information.Â I wish I had known.Â
What is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression, often called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a depression that occurs each year at the same time. It usually starts in fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer. It is more than just "the winter blues" or "cabin fever." A rare form of SAD known as "summer depression," begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall.Symptoms
People who suffer from SAD have many of the common signs of depression:
Sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in their usual activities, withdrawal from social activities, and inability to concentrate. They often have symptoms such as extreme fatigue and lack of energy, increased need for sleep, craving for carbohydrates, and increased appetite and weight gain.Symptoms of winter SAD include:
- Increased need for sleep
- Decreased levels of energy
- Weight gain
- Increase in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased desire to be alone
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Decreased appetite
The exact cause of this condition is not known, but the influence of latitude on SAD strongly suggests that it is caused by changes in the availability of sunlight. One theory is that with decreased exposure to sunlight, the biological clock that regulates mood, sleep, and hormones is delayed, running more slowly in winter. Exposure to light may reset the biological clock.
Another theory is that brain chemicals that transmit information between nerves, called neurotransmitters (for example, serotonin), may be altered in individuals with SAD. It is believed that exposure to light can correct these imbalances.How can I tell if I have SAD?
It is very important that you do not diagnose yourself. If you have symptoms of depression, see your doctor for a thorough assessment. Sometimes physical problems can cause depression. But other times, symptoms of SAD are part of a more complex psychiatric problem. A health professional should be the person to determine the level of depression and recommend the right form of treatment.How is SAD treated?
Research now shows that light therapy is an effective treatment for SAD. Sometimes antidepressant medicine is used alone or in combination with light therapy. Spending time outdoors during the day can be helpful, as well as maximizing the amount of sunlight you're exposed to at home and in the office.
For further information go to Â Cleveland Clinic Website.