Don’t Sing the Winter Blues

January 3, 2018

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do the bleak winter months get you down? Do you tend to experience changes in appetite, sleep, mood, and energy during the fall and winter months? If so, you may have seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

Facts about SAD and Depression

  • It is more common among people who live far north or south of the equator
  • Women are four times more likely to have SAD than men
  • The average age of onset is 23 years, but it can impact people of any age
  • It impacts about 5% of adults in U.S. – an additional 20% have some symptoms but do not meet diagnostic criteria

Hormones manufactured deep in the brain automatically trigger attitudinal changes at certain times of the year. Experts believe that SAD is related to these hormonal changes. One theory is that reduced sunlight during fall and winter leads to reduced production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin produces a soothing, calming effect, but when levels drop, a person may experience feelings of depression, along with symptoms of fatigue, carbohydrate craving, and weight gain.

Follow our “Read More” link below to learn more about SAD and how you can prevent it.