Health Media Today is a leading network of Canadian Health and Wellness web sites.
The network provides the latest news, advice and opinions from Canadians for Canadians.

 
 

12 Signs You May Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

 
Date Posted: February 13, 2017
 

 
 
 

Canadian winters are amongst the most challenging in the world so it’s no surprise when we experience the winter blues once in a while. But, for 2 to 6% of Canadians, fall and winter can lead to a true mental health challenge: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). It is estimated that a further 15% of Canadians will experience a milder form of this disorder in their lifetime as well. What differentiates S.A.D. from a case of the winter blahs and what should you do if you suspect you or somebody you care about needs help? Those are the questions we are here to answer.

 

Primary Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

  1. Lethargy (low energy) and tiredness: This includes the need to nap during the day

  2. Oversleeping: Needing more hours a night than you do at other times of the year or feeling you need a nap even after a good night’s sleep.

  3. Difficulty concentrating: Whether from an overall feeling of fatigue or persistent low mood

  4.  Over eating: Many S.A.D. sufferers have a craving for foods high in carbohydrates

  5.  Weight gain: Often caused by increased carbs and a lack of exercise

  6. Being less active than normal: Feeling unable to do your usual fitness routine or staying home on the couch more often

  7. Irritability: Problems getting along with other people who you normally have no problem being around.

  8. Feeling stressed or anxious by situations that would not have bothered you in the past.

  9. Withdrawing from social contacts: Avoiding parties or outings you would have enjoyed in the past.

  10. Loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities

  11. Heavy leaden feeling in the arms or legs

  12. Reduced sex drive

 

Treatment Options

 

Light Therapy (Phototherapy):

You can purchase light boxes, visors, or lamps which contain specialized fluorescent light covered with a plastic screen to block the harmful ultraviolet light. Using light therapy 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours a day will help to stimulate your body’s circadian rhythms and suppress its natural release of melatonin, helping you to feel more wakeful and energetic.

Maximizing natural daylight:

Try to increase your exposure to daylight by making sure you sit near a window at home or work, or even getting up earlier to get more daylight each day. You can even maximize the light in your home with lighter pain colours and keeping the drapes wide open during the sunnier times of the day.

Talking it out:

Seek the help of a therapist, psychotherapist, or doctor to talk through your feelings and symptoms. They can help make a clear diagnosis and determine whether other forms of treatment are needed.

Medication:

Since S.A.D is a form of depression, you may need a prescribed anti-depressant to overcome the worst of the symptoms. SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most popular form of antidepressant prescribed. They increase the level of the hormone serotonin in your brain, which can help to lift your mood. Be aware that antidepressants can take up to 6 weeks to reach full effectiveness.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:

Try to get as much exercise as possible and eat healthy foods. Try to spend time outdoors going for walks, or enjoying winter activities.

Keep a Regular Schedule:

People with S.A.D. tend to over-sleep so try to get to bed the same time every night and get up at the same time every day – even on weekends. Maintaining a regular meal schedule can also help with the tendency to over-eat and gain weight during the winter months.

 

 

 

 
 
 

More Videos & Articles by Carolyn Eagle

12 Signs You May Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted February 13, 2017

Fighting the Flu This Winter

Posted January 2, 2017

Easy Ways to Keep Eating Healthy Over the Holidays

Posted November 28, 2016

To B or Not to B (Vitamin B, that is)

Posted November 8, 2016

A Parents Guide to Pokemon Go Safety

Posted August 25, 2016
 
 
 
 

More Videos & Articles in Depression

12 Signs You May Have Seasonal Affective Disorder By Carolyn Eagle

Posted February 13, 2017

Post Partum Depression By Health Media Today

Posted March 1, 2011

Clinical Depression By Health Media Today

Posted December 1, 2009
 
 
 
 
 

Latest Health Videos & Articles

 

Depression: 12 Signs You May Have Seasonal Affective Disorder By Carolyn Eagle

Posted February 13, 2017

Health and Wellness: Fighting the Flu This Winter By Carolyn Eagle

Posted January 2, 2017

Nutrition: Easy Ways to Keep Eating Healthy Over the Holidays By Carolyn Eagle

Posted November 28, 2016

Nutrition: To B or Not to B (Vitamin B, that is) By Carolyn Eagle

Posted November 8, 2016

Exercise and Fitness: Getting to the CORE of the Problem By Meryl Da Costa

Posted September 28, 2016

Parenting: A Parents Guide to Pokemon Go Safety By Carolyn Eagle

Posted August 25, 2016

Exercise and Fitness: Hot Vs Cold and How To Soothe Those Aching Muscles By Meryl Da Costa

Posted August 19, 2016