SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a kind of depression that typically manifests itself during autumn and winter. It is also referred to as “winter depression.”

Whilst it is not uncommon for people’s moods to fluctuate depending on the weather, people who are experiencing SAD find that the lack of natural sunlight and decreased daylight hours have a significantly negative impact on their daily life.

SAD generally worsens during the months of December, January and February and causes affected individuals to experience depressive symptoms, like persistent low moods and a general lack of energy.

Symptoms of SAD often come and go in an annual cycle – SAD symptoms can last throughout the course of winter, recede during spring, summer and autumn, and return the following winter.

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Our admissions team can give you expert help and advice on the best options available for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Treatment, get in touch today to find out more.

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Here at Nova Recovery, we recognise the negative impact that SAD can have on someone’s life and we provide expert SAD treatment for those who require it. Our treatment options are proven and effective and we’ve been providing Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment for some time.

You don’t need to just overlook and put up with the symptoms of SAD, our medical team provide professional help for Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment and can help you to take back control of your life in a safe and caring environment

If you’d like to discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment, please contact Nova Recovery today on 01475 303998 and we will be able to help you, as we have many other people suffering with SAD.

What is SAD?

SAD is a form of depression and has been recognised as a mental health condition. The symptoms of SAD are generally experienced throughout the winter when there is less exposure to natural daylight.

SAD affects about 500,000 people in the United Kingdom, and the climate we live in sees a wide variation of weather and different amounts of daylight hours – more so than most other countries in the world.

Though there’s no set stage in life to suffer with SAD, it has been found to happen more frequently to people aged 18-30, and more commonly in women. Additionally, SAD increases existing depression symptoms if you already suffer with depression – making it essential that you seek out help as soon as possible.

The majority of people suffering with SAD are across the northern and southern hemispheres, parts of the world that experience more darkness through winter, and cases near the equator are exceptionally rare as daylight is long and bright.

 

Causes of SAD

Research suggests that melatonin is mostly responsible for the early signs and symptoms of SAD. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the brain that is linked to the levels of daylight you are exposed to, as well as regulating sleeping and waking patterns.

SAD is caused by a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain that control mood, sleep and appetite. The chemical imbalance is caused by the lack of natural light in the autumn and winter.

Your body’s reaction to a lack of natural light is a reduction of serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that is known as one of the “happy chemicals” secreted by the brain that creates positive sensations.

Serotonin is replaced with higher levels of melatonin, slowing down your body clock and adversely affecting your mood and sleeping patterns.

A list of causes of SAD can be shortened to:

  • Poor sleeping patterns and not enough sleep;
  • High melatonin levels and low serotonin levels;
  • Your body clock being confused due to the lower levels of sunlight during winter months.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of SAD often vary between different people but are similar to other types of depression. You could receive a SAD diagnosis if your symptoms have been prevalent for three years consecutively during the autumn and winter seasons.

You may find yourself experiencing persistently low moods and feeling unhappy most of the time. People suffering from SAD find themselves with a weakened immune system during autumn and winter, as well as increased levels of irritability and an increased craving of carbohydrates, which can result in weight gain.

You may also become lethargic and needing to sleep more than usual, as well as experiencing mood swings, anxiety and suffering with a loss of interest in your usual hobbies and activities.

SAD symptoms usually dissipate upon the arrival of spring and you may experience a period of hypomania when this happens This is a mild form of mania that sees someone experience hyperactivity and elation.

SAD symptoms can suddenly disappear or there may be a more gradual change of mood dependent on the amount of sunlight in early spring.

What are the different types of Treatment Options?

There are a number of different Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment options available.

One of the most notable forms of treatment for SAD sufferers is light therapy. This is an effective treatment that exposes you to bright light on a daily basis – this light is as much as ten times brighter than light you are exposed to at home and mimics natural daylight. However, this light does not damage vision in the same way that sunlight does.

You may also take antidepressant medication, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that are a widely used medication. This medication treats the depressive symptoms of SAD and complements light therapy well.

Psychotherapy has also proven to be successful for seasonal affective disorder symptoms and treatment. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and counselling is beneficial to those experiencing the effects of SAD.  CBT will help you by encouraging you to challenge negative thought patterns and to alter the aspects of your behaviour that may be contributing to your illness.

If you have questions about guidelines for Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment, or would like to know more about seasonal affective disorder natural treatment, please contact Nova Recovery today.

We’re available 24 hours a day to discuss SAD and the effects this unique and unpleasant depression can have on your life.