Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year.
According to the WHO, depressive disorders – which include seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – affect about 20% of the world population. How can you identify it? Generally, as winter arrives and the days get shorter, people with SAD experience changes in their mood, are unable to enjoy things, have low energy, difficulty concentrating and issues with sleeping. As the springtime arrives, and the days get longer, people tend to get relief from these symptoms.
These chemical imbalances could be related to exposure to daylight, which affects the production of two hormones: melatonin and serotonin, both of which have an impact on sleep and on the energy needed to perform daily activities. Increases in melatonin levels make people feel sleepy and lethargic. Conversely, low levels of serotonin are related to depression.
The Mayo Clinic recommends looking out for symptoms such as if the person feels sad for several days, if there are interruptions in a person’s sleep and appetite, or if the person is not motivated to do activities that they used to enjoy. If the person is experiencing these symptoms, the recommendation is to see a doctor who will determine what the proper treatment will be. The most common forms of treatment are phototherapy, psychotherapy and art therapy. These forms of treatment should be done along with activities such as yoga and meditation to connect the body with the mind.