Have you ever gone outside on a sunny day and felt energized and happy? Have you looked outside to see dreary rain or snow and decided to go back to bed? There’s no secret that the weather and seasons can have an impact on your outlook and mood, but it’s more than just liking or disliking the weather. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that is related to the changes in the seasons, which may be something that is affecting you if you’re feeling a little down.
While SAD is most likely to affect you in the winter months, you can have major mood changes at other times of the year, too. An increase in vitamin D levels, for example, could give you a boost of energy when you’re getting more sun.SAD may also lead to symptoms of mania in the spring and summer. We offer the following mood disorder treatment options at Sunstone recovery:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Addiction treatment
- Treatment for depression
- Treatment for bipolar disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder: What Is It?
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression. Normally, it affects people in the fall and winter, when temperatures drop, and there is less sun. However, SAD can impact you throughout the entire year. Some people are symptomatic only in the spring and summer, though that is less common.
What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal Affective Disorder has many symptoms. Some of the winter-pattern SAD symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Social withdrawal
- Overeating, especially carbohydrates
Summer-pattern SAD may have symptoms such as:
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Poor appetite and weight loss
- Agitation and restlessness
- Episodes of violent behavior
The good news is that SAD can be diagnosed and treated effectively.
How Is Seasonal Affective Disorder Diagnosed?
Getting diagnosed with SAD may require an office visit, but you could even be diagnosed over telehealth. Usually, you’ll fill out a questionnaire to determine if you meet the criteria, including:
- Having symptoms of major depression
- Having depressive episodes linked to specific seasons, such as only during the winter
- Having episodes that happen more often than at other times of the year
Essentially, it’s important to identify when those depressive episodes are happening and to see if they can be linked to a specific time of year. If so, then you may have SAD.
How Is Seasonal Affective Disorder Treated?
SAD can be treated in a few ways, such as by using:
- Light therapy
- Vitamin D
The main treatment used is light therapy, because it helps expose people with SAD to bright lights that are around 20 times brighter than indoor lighting. This helps replace the lack of sunlight that they face in the winter months. This process is usually safe, since the UV light is filtered out.
Vitamin D deficiencies may be linked to SAD, so taking nutritional supplements can help. Studies have found that many patients with SAD have vitamin D deficiencies from a lack of sun exposure. Fortunately, it’s easy to take as a regular supplement. Combined with other medications, like SSRIs, and services like psychotherapy, it’s possible to get SAD under control.
Get Help with Your Moods, Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health with Sunstone Recovery
At Sunstone Recovery, we are dedicated to helping you get the support you need for any mental health concerns you have. If you’re worried about SAD and the chance of the seasons, let us help you by providing the support you need. We offer telehealth services, depression treatment, and other services that may help you feel better. Call us today to learn more about how we can help at 855.833.9199, or contact us online.