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Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Have you been wondering why your mood changes when the seasons change? Have you been wondering why it seems you are not as happy as you should be around Christmas or any other holiday? Have you experienced sadness when day light savings time is over?   Your situation could be related to seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Some of you may be wondering what SAD is.

SAD is a condition that affects people mostly when we move into different seasons. For example, some people experience SAD during the fall and winter season.   Some people experience SAD in the spring and summer season. There are varying levels of depression that occur when an individual has SAD.

During the fall or winter, some of the symptoms a person may experience are irritability, low energy, appetite changes, and weight gain. During the spring or summer, some of the symptoms a person may experience are trouble sleeping, poor appetite, weight loss, and anxiety. If not careful, this can turn into a heavier form of depression to include feeling hopeless and worthless, depressed feelings every day, no interest in activities, trouble sleeping, having suicidal thoughts, and the list goes on and on.

It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these symptoms at any time. While many of us have “down days” from time to time, if this is a part of your norm, then it is critical to see a doctor as soon as possible. Concerning your hormones, SAD can be related to an imbalance in serotonin (which affects your mood) caused by reduction in day light. The other hormone that can be affected by SAD is melatonin which is responsible for sleep pattern and mood. Other factors that can increase your risk of SAD are your age, genetics, having clinical depression, and if you’re a female.

This is not something that is impossible to treat. In fact, it definitely can be treated. Some things that you can do to help with treatment are writing down your symptoms to bring to the doctor, writing down your medications and supplements, writing down anything that has caused you stress recently, and any patterns you see related to depression.

You can choose to see your primary care doctor or a psychologist for assistance. The choice is yours. Your primary care doctor will probably order blood work and do a complete physical exam on you. The psychologist will evaluate you based on a series of questions he or she will ask.

There are several ways to treat SAD. Some of those include light therapy, which mimics natural light causing your mood to be altered, medication, psychotherapy and supplements. It is also noted that getting regular exercise, participating in outdoor activities, participating in social activities, going away, giving yourself some “me” time, and managing your stress by relaxing can help reverse the effects of SAD.

No one has to have SAD and be sad. You can choose to be happy because, ultimately, happiness and joy are a choice. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, your happiness lies with you. Take care of yourself because YOU are very important. Make sure you do things that make you happy, that bring you joy, and give you pleasure. Your life is so valuable otherwise God would not have brought you into this world. You are very special; I hope you know that. You are an individual with gifts, talents, and a personality that cannot be matched with anyone else because you are unique. Believe in yourself the way that God and others believe in you, and love yourself because the bottom line is – YOU. ARE. LOVED. Live, laugh, love, and pray.

God Bless You with Good Health and Wellness,

Antoinette

Source: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), by Mayo Clinic Staff, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20021047

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please contact Antoinette Johnson

writingsbyasj@gmail.com

P.O. Box 7272, North Brunswick, NJ 08902

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