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Battling Seasonal Affective Disorder

Battling Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

From back-to-school season to the end of summer fun, there are plenty of changes around this time of year. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it's not uncommon for people to feel down. This is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or seasonal depression, which can be a tough battle to fight.

Just because SAD is common, doesn't mean you have to suffer through it. There are things you can do to help ease your seasonal mood changes.

Why Does Seasonal Depression Happen?

Seasonal depression is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year. While the exact cause of winter-onset SAD is unknown, it is believed to be related to the decrease in exposure to sunlight during winter. The farther north or south of the equator that one lives, the more likely one is to experience it.

Symptoms of seasonal depression can include:

  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Irritability
  • Low energy and motivation
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Decreased ability to focus and concentrate
  • Changes in appetite (craving carbohydrates is common)
  • Sleeping more or less

Tips for Managing Seasonal Depression

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's essential to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for seasonal depression, including light therapy, medication, and counseling.

Making lifestyle changes can also help manage winter-onset seasonal depression. Some lifestyle changes that may help include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Spending time outdoors every day
  • Practicing meditation or relaxation techniques
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Visiting a warmer, sunnier place (e.g., closer to the equator)

Mental Health Services in Jackson Hole

Caring for your mental health is vital to your overall health and well-being. If you are struggling with seasonal depression, know that you are not alone and there is help available.

At (307) 733-3636, our internal medicine offices are here to openly listen to your concerns and work with you to achieve overall better health and wellness. Visit our website to see the types of primary care we provide or to find a doctor, today!