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Are you feeling SAD?

Recently while talking to my sister, who's currently located in Canada, I learned that a few of her colleagues are struggling with mental health issues since the onset of winter, and she told me that in cold places such as Canada and some parts of the U.S it is often observed that people struggle with their mental health during the cold season.

Do you feel your mood also setting off and low as the sunsets during winters?

Or do you also start feeling blue as winter sets in?

If the answer to these questions was 'yes', then we believe you feel sad, and sad might mean S.A.D

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a disruption of the body's natural regulation of moods/feelings/attitudes which fluctuates with the seasons. It is a subtype of depression thought to be linked to changes in exposure to sunlight and is more commonly known as the "Winter Blues".

But why does our mental health get affected due to the seasonal changes?

1.) Shift in the body's biological clock: The biological clock controls our hormones and mood. We become used to our daily schedule and it becomes difficult for our body to regulate our hormones and sleep-wake cycle according to the unusual climate due to less duration of the sunlight.

2.) Imbalance in the brain: Our brain produces and regulates various chemicals such as the serotonin which is responsible for the feeling of happiness. An absence of sunlight during the winters can lead to a huge decline in the production of serotonin as sunlight regulates serotonin levels, and this can lead to depression.

3.) Increased Melatonin: Melatonin is a compound that influences our sleep. The absence of sunlight might invigorate an overproduction of melatonin and you might start feeling drowsy and sluggish throughout the colder time of year.

4.) Feeling trapped: Due to extreme cold and blizzards, it becomes very difficult for people to get out of the house and be able to get fresh air, meet up with friends/family which may lead to feeling shut in and disconnected from the world. 

5.) Negative feelings: SAD leads to a rise in negative thoughts and feelings such as stress, anxiety, hopelessness. These negative feelings can be a reason or an impact of SAD.

What are some of the symptoms of SAD?

• Feeling depressed and/or thoughts of suicide

• Loss of interest

• Anxiety

• Stress

• Over sleeping or Insomnia

• Over eating or Loss of appetite

• Feeling sluggish and low

• Overthinking, feeling hopeless/worthless

But what is the treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

1.) CBT- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, a psychological approach, is a type of talk therapy which has proven to be the most effective treatment for SAD.

2.) Light Therapy- This is a safe approach wherein a special lamp which has white fluorescent lights that are 20x brighter than regular indoor light. 

3.) Antidepressants & Vitamin D supplements- Your mental health professional may prescribe you antidepressants in combination with other approaches. These medications help regulate hormones and create a balance. 

Please follow this approach as per the prescription.

If you feel you are going through the same, then don't worry, just seek help. 

And remember, DhairyaDa is always here for you!

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