by Apple Therapy

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in the seasons, usually occurring around the same time each year. The transition from summer to fall/winter being the most common. SAD occurs when days start to get shorter and weather gets colder. Some signs and symptoms include having low energy, oversleeping, overeating, and difficulty concentrating. 4-6% of individuals develop SAD and up to 20% of people have a mild form of it.

Factors that could cause SAD include a change in circadian rhythm due to the decrease in sunlight. A drop in serotonin levels can be caused by the reduced sunlight. Serotonin is a brain chemical that can have an effect in mood. Also, a change in melatonin levels, caused by reduced sunlight, can affect sleep patterns and mood.

How to help SAD?

– Stay active and involved

  • This can include exercise (outside if possible), reaching out to family & friends, finding a hobby, participating in fun activities inside or outside

– Trying bright light therapy

  • This involves using an artificial light to help keep your circadian rhythm normal
  • This works by sitting in front of a light box (not your typical lamp) for 20-30 minutes a day. It’s believed to help boost mood and help with symptoms of SAD

– Using a dawn simulator

  • Instead of using your typical alarm clock this will produce light that gradually increases, similar to the sun

– Stick to a consistent schedule
– Talk to your doctor about further medical help if needed