For the month of May, Defying Shadows will be joining the Mental Health Awareness Month by sharing a post daily on a different type of Mental Illness or “Shadow” that people commonly struggle with. Join us in creating awareness and working to end the stigma that goes with these topics! Today we have Alex Newton sharing on seasonal affective disorder. ~ Defying Shadows Team.
When I was first saw a doctor about my depressive episodes, they had suggested that it could be seasonal affective disorder. So rather than jumping the gun and putting me on an anti-depressant right away, I had some testing done and was told to take 1-2 1000 IU of vitamin D daily. After a few weeks, I was called back to go over my testing results, and everything had seemed normal.However, I was still experiencing depressive episodes. The doctor then put me on an anti-depressant and I had a follow-up with my family physician within a 6 to 8 weeks. So after all of this, I guess I should tell you what exactly seasonal affective disorder is.Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is defined as a depression that occurs at the same time every year, usually during seasonal changes.
What causes seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?
– Your biological clock (circadian rhythm): reduced levels of sunlight in the fall and winter seasons. The decrease of the sunlight may cause disruption of the body’s internal clock.
– Serotonin and Melatonin levels: serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects your mood. Typically, due to the decrease of sunlight, serotonin levels can drop. Melatonin on the other hand is a neurotransmitter that affects your sleep. Like all of the other causes, the decrease of sunlight can decrease the levels.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies:
Here are a few home and lifestyle remedies that can help improve the symptoms of SAD:
– Go for a walk and exercise reguarly. A simple as this may sound, going outside and enjoying the fresh air and the sunlight is one of the easiest tasks that you can do. It can even help you with your stress!
– Create more sunlight within your home. This one is a bit tricky. Although it is possible, opening blinds, trim bushes, or place furniture closer to windows with sunlight can help improve your symptoms.
Statistics and Facts about seasonal Affective disorder (SAD):
– SAD affects women more than men
– Mild cases of SAD can be treated; light therapy being the most common type of therapy used
– The main age of onset is 18-30 years old.
– SAD can occur in the summer months. This is related to the heat and humidity rather than the cold.
Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.