Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How Do I Know if I Have it?

When the warm weather comes to an end and the sun begins to set earlier each night, it’s normal for people to miss the long summer days they once enjoyed. But what happens when that longing for summer turns into something a bit more serious? This could be a sign that you have seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Signs of Fall and Winter SAD

  • Oversleeping
  • Changes in your appetite, specifically wanting lots of heavy foods, high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue and low energy

Signs of Spring and Summer SAD

Though fall and winter SAD is more common, some people do experience seasonal depression at the start of spring.  

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or restless

Causes of SAD

Though the exact causes of certain types of depression, including SAD, are unknown, scientists believe one or more of the following could be a cause:

  • Changes in your biological clock: As the sun begins to set earlier and earlier in the fall and winter, it can affect your circadian rhythm and sleep patterns, causing you to feel depressed.
  • A drop in serotonin levels: A lack of sunlight can also cause your brain to produce less serotonin (a chemical that affects people’s happiness).
  • Change in melatonin levels: Melatonin plays a major role in your sleep schedule and habits. Changes in the amount of daylight can disrupt your standard level of melatonin.

When is it Time to Ask for Help?

If your sadness is causing you to skip activities you once loved doing (like reading, sports, spending time with friends, etc.) or had to do (like go to work, school, etc.) it’s time to seek professional help.

Debra Solomon, founder of Spectrum Strategies has many services waiting for you. From time management and productivity workshops to individual coaching, she is an expert in her field. Debra is focused on training young adults on the Autism Spectrum to accomplish life and career goals, no matter how big or small. Call (516) 510-7637 for your one on one and let’s get you reaching for the stars!