Do you notice a sudden change in your mood around the holidays that continues through the winter? Are you feeling more sluggish, cranky, or depressed than usual? You may be one of the 4% – 6% of Americans who regularly experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, each year.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression related to changes in the seasons, often occurring in the fall and continuing into late winter. Often known as “seasonal blues,” many researchers and health professionals associate SAD with a lack of sunlight and the affect that has on serotonin, dopamine and melatonin levels – all of which affect mood and sleep patterns.

 

Symptoms range from sudden changes in weight or appetite to feelings of hopelessness and everything in between. Because symptoms are inconsistent and many people ignore their feelings, SAD can be difficult to diagnose. Nevertheless, it’s important not to ignore your symptoms because like other forms of depression, SAD can get worse if left untreated.

 

How to Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder:

Luckily, there are easy steps you can take to prevent or relieve your symptoms.

Get a Vitamin B12 Shot. This water soluble vitamin produces amino acids that help control mood, support immunity, and relieve depression.

Seek Sunshine. Whether a winter morning stroll or a vacation in the Caribbean, sun exposure can increase your melatonin and serotonin levels – leading to better mood.

Get Up and Go. One of the most common symptoms of SAD is sluggishness so fight the feeling and move! Exercise naturally raises serotonin levels to relieve depression.

 

When to Call a Doctor:

It’s completely normal to have a bad or off day. However, if you consistently feel down for long periods of time, turn to drug or alcohol use, or have thoughts of suicide, see your doctor immediately for professional medical treatment.

 

If you or someone you know may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, visit Doctors Express Indianapolis for urgent care with no appointment necessary. We’re open at convenient, extended hours 7 days a week: Monday – Friday 8am to 8pm and Weekends 8am – 5pm.