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Posted on 26th of January, 2013
106 notes

Tags: SAD, seasonal affective disorder, seasonal depression, depression,

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a kind of depression that usually only occurs at a specific time of year. It usually occurs during the winter or colder months, although a rare form of it happens during spring and summer. People who live in places with long winters or places where they don’t get much sun tend to be at a higher risk. It’s believed that SAD is caused by a combination of lack of light which can affect melatonin and vitamin D levels and our circadian rhythm which affects sleep and mood and hormonal imbalance. Symptoms usually start off mild and then get worse as the seasons change. The symptoms are similar to every other form of depression; feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, fatigue, oversleeping, isolation, loss of interest in things you enjoyed, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, feelings of guilt, irritability, and loss of libido. SAD can become long term depression, and sometimes bipolar disorder with manic episodes occurring more frequently during the seasons you aren’t depressed (most commonly the spring and summer months). For diagnoses, a therapist or other mental health specialist will ask about your symptoms, family history, and medical history. Treatment is usually a combination of light therapy (which works for about 50% of patients), therapy, antidepressants, and getting enough sleep, spending more time outside, eating healthy, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and exercising. In some light therapy can cause manic episodes or headache. Be sure to not look directly at the light.

Treatment can help SAD a lot. Talk to your partner about your symptoms and the kind of treatment you’re on. Spend time together outside having fun so you can get some sun and also spend time together and get away from stressors. If it’s possible, it may be a good idea to take a vacation to some place warmer (or cooler if you have summer/spring onset SAD) with your partner. Take a romantic get away! If that’s not possible, it’s still important to spend time together. Talk about your symptoms. Stress that it’s not just the “winter blues” but that it’s a very serious mental health issue. Explain what you’re going through. If you have a decreased libido try to do other intimate things together. Don’t feel pressured into sex when you don’t want it. If you have manic episodes, be sure your partner knows that an increased sex drive comes with that and partners, make sure your SAD partner really wants sex. Many times after the manic episode is done people with SAD feel guilt about things that they’ve done. If they seem more sexually adventurous than usual, talk to them about it and make sure things are okay. Don’t isolate yourself from your partner! Spend time just cuddling and watching movies or doing simple things together. That can build up intimacy and won’t stress your boundaries.

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    Note^ caused by a decrease in melatonin and vitamin D. I’ll add that SAD can also be a result of a smaller hippocampus....
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