Everyone’s mood can be impacted by the weather. For some individuals, the changing seasons can have a lasting effect on their mental health.
Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD or seasonal depression, is a condition that affects many Canadians during the winter months. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, of Canadians have SAD while 15 per cent will experience mild symptoms of the disorder.
It’s not just the winter blues, one study suggests that people living in northern latitudes are more prone to SAD due to longer winters and lack of sunlight.
According to Mayo Clinic, some signs and symptoms of SAD include:
- Feeling depressed nearly every day
- Having low energy
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Problems with sleeping (Sleeping too much or difficulty falling asleep)
- Changes in appetite and weight (Craving carbohydrates)
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having thoughts of death or suicide
Luckily, there are many remedies that have been shown to improve the symptoms of SAD. With proper recognition, most individuals can manage their seasonal depression without the use of medications.
SAD is directly linked to a lack of sunlight, so light therapy has proven to be an effective and inexpensive solution to seasonal depression. One study found that exposure to bright artificial white light can aid in reversing the symptoms of SAD.
Effective treatment can vary from person to person, if you or someone you know is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, it is recommended that you speak to a medical professional.