Seasonal Affective Disorder is depression that affects many people in the dark, cold months. It seems this Nebraska winter has been especially brutal, which doesn’t particularity help. When the blossoms of Spring come about, your mood may become lighter and happier – just like the trees and grass, newly healthy and green!
Why does SAD happen?
Scientists don’t exactly know the causes of SAD, but one thought is that the lack of sunlight during fall and winter months causes your brain to make less serotonin, which helps makes you feel happy. This fluctuation of your normal serotonin level can make you sad, sluggish, moody and irritable.
Lack of sunlight also causes an increase of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. This increase may cause you to feel consistently sleepy, versus just at night, and possibly unmotivated and agitated.
What can you do about SAD?
There are several things you can do to help yourself, like exercising, taking antidepressants or trying a SAD lamp to replicate the sun’s light. Your best option, though, is to speak with your Primary Care Provider to come up with a plan to combat SAD that’s personalized to your specific needs and symptoms.