What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Hi, my name is Jeff Duke and I’m a counsellor and psychotherapist here at Bhatia Psychology Group. I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about seasonal affective disorder or what’s often called the “winter blues.”

SAD is what happens for some people where they start to experience symptoms of depression. Most commonly having difficulty getting out of bed in the mornings, oversleeping, craving more carbohydrates or having an increased desire to eat, weight gain, experiencing lower mood.

Sometimes you can have other ones as well, including feelings: of hopelessness, guilt, concentration difficulty. People believe what causes seasonal effective disorder is the reduced sunlight that we get. If you live far away from the equator, you’re not getting as much direct sunlight during the late autumn and through the winter.

As a result, it’s believed that that can affect our mood, get less serotonin, brings our mood down. It can kind of throw your circadian rhythm off or your internal time clock that says go to bed at this time, wake up at this time. So that might make it hard to get out of bed.

Now there are various ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. They can include medication, they can include counselling, and they can also include the use of a light box. A light box uses broad spectrum lighting to sort of mimic the effect of being outside during the spring or summertime. Definitely consult your doctor and definitely follow the instructions because there is some ultraviolet light being used.

There are certain times of day when you should be using it and there’s a certain distance you need to be from it. So following the instructions and consulting the professionals is extremely important.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Bhatia Psychology Group. 

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