The Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
School, work and personal-life stresses have a way of piling up at the worst times; in the dead of winter when you’re faced with short days and little-to-no sunlight. Depression that recurs each year, in the fall or winter months, is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is caused by a lack of sunlight and other external factors. The following questions can help you decide if you might have SAD. Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can be caused by normal emotions. It’s important to trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.
Overly tired or fatigued? If you have trouble sleeping (sleeping too much, nodding off in class or insomniac symptoms) it could be a sign of SAD.
More irritable than usual? How many of us aren’t irritable this time of year? According to Health.com, 40 percent of SAD sufferers experience anger-outbursts compared to only 29 percent of people with non-seasonal depression.
Having feelings of sadness, stress or indifference? Feelings of sadness are a normal part of life, but if you find yourself losing interest in daily activity (such as socializing, cleaning, sexual activity or personal hygiene) then you may be experiencing a symptom of depression.
Uncharacteristically hungry or craving carbs? Low levels of tryptophan and serotonin, which are found in people with SAD or any other form of depression, can cause the body to crave excess amounts of food. Over eating and indulging in large amounts of carbohydrates may temporarily raise the ‘happy hormones’ in your body but it comes with significant side effects and often makes the problem worse.
Having trouble concentrating? Victims of depression, both seasonal and non, often experience a drop in their cognitive abilities. Poor memory, impaired speech and loss of concentration are all ways that depression can affect your cognition.
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