Are you dreaming of the warm summer months? We sure are! While we wait out the rest of this winter with the hope of spring on the horizon, it is important to check in with your mental health from time to time.
Mild bouts of sadness or feelings of occasional loneliness are typically just a part of life, but lingering or worsening feelings could indicate an emerging seasonal affective disorder diagnosis.
Our connection to the sun and the lack of daylight in the winter can cause SAD, or seasonal affective disorder to appear. Our AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah team explains what to watch out for below, so read on.
Why Does SAD Happen?
We all rely on exposure to natural sunlight every day to help us wake up, go about our days and fall asleep at night. This is called our “circadian rhythm,” which helps control many of our body systems and overall health. As there is less available daylight in the winter and the sun isn’t as strong, we tend to spend much more time indoors.
Because of this, we aren’t getting the vitamin D exposure we need, and it can actually kickstart the production of various hormones in our bodies. Hormones like melatonin are produced in response to darkness, and an overload of this hormone in your body can cause depression-like symptoms.
Symptoms to Watch For
- Increased sleepiness or daytime drowsiness
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- Social withdrawal
- Feelings of guilt
What Are the Different Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder?
As with every mental health condition, it is vital that you visit with your medical provider for an evaluation and discussion of your current symptoms. Individuals respond differently to treatments, so choosing the right one for you is vital!
Medication, talk therapy and light therapy are all known to help relieve symptoms of SAD. A light box mimics natural sunlight, so standing in front of it or having it on your desk while you work might be a great help to you. It is important to remember that seasonal affective disorder tends to fade away when spring or summer arrives, so if your symptoms are lingering, you may be suffering from another form of depression. Depression is always serious, so visit with a professional right away.
Boost Your Mental Health This Winter
- Stand in the sun more often.
- Discover a new hobby to keep you engaged.
- Practice more self-care, like exercising and getting enough sleep.
- Visit with a doctor if your symptoms start to affect your everyday life.
We are always here for you. Come see us at AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah to visit with our care team.