In this article, we cover the concept of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where you can learn its symptoms and ways to treat. At the end of this article, you will also understand the use of seasonal affective disorder lamp and where to buy them. With dry skin, less sunlight, and putting on weight, winters can get depressing for many people across the world.
By definition, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder like depression that occurs at the same time every year. It is commonly known as “winter blues”. Although most predominantly seen in winter, SAD can also occur in spring and early summer.
As sunlight significantly decreases during the long dark winters, people experience changes in brain patterns and mood swings. Lack of sunlight also impacts the production of hormones like serotonin and melatonin that are responsible for mood and sleep patterns respectively.
Some people don’t want to acknowledge that SAD is a real thing, but studies have proven that around the same time every year people are getting depressed. Some of the symptoms of this seasonal disorder are fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal.
The most at risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are young females who live far from the equator, have a family history of bipolar disorder, depression or SAD.
Research from American family physician also shows that symptoms of this seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are present for about 40% of the year with 5% of the U.S. population experiences this behavioral disorder.
It’s less likely among teenagers to experience SAD, as it mostly affects people that are twenty years old or older.
One of the most common reasons for this disorder or what’s explained so far is a drop in serotonin levels. Seratonin is a brain hormone that impacts mood and decreased levels of serotonin causes depression.
This disorder has a massive impact on the decisions we make and the things we do in the winter season.
The Fall and Winter season is the time most people are getting depressed and is experiencing the symptoms of this disorder. However, though it is pretty rare, there are some cases where people experience the symptoms during the Spring and Summer months instead.
Before we proceed to see how SAD impacts your mood and decision making, let’s see the common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Symptoms of SAD During Fall and Winters
- Low energy
- Changes in sleep patterns causing no sleep or oversleeping
- Feeling depressed all the time
- Loss of interest in physical activities
- Sudden weight gain
- Craving for carbs
- Social withdrawal
Less often occurring Seasonal Affective Disorder in spring and early summers include the below symptoms.
Symptoms of SAD During Spring and Summers
- Weight loss
- Poor sleep leading to Insomnia
So how does SAD impact your decision making? What types of impact does this have on your thought process during this season? That’s what we’re going to dive into today.
How Seasonal Affective Disorder Impacts Your Decision Making in Winter?
1. You Don’t Want to Take Risks
One of the common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder is you play it safe. Studies talk about how during the winters affect the stock market in cities with long winters including Stockholm, Toronto, London, and Frankfurt.
One of the reasons for stock changes in winter is that people want to take fewer risks, and so they don’t invest as much into the stock market.
People are pulling out or not being as active. Additionally, they also tend not to invest as much in themselves or do anything that may be outside of their comfort zone. People say that winter is the time to stay in and be comfortable with comfort foods and hot beverages.
This has a lot to do with the fact that people are not wanting to take any risks doing anything outside of their comfort zone. I mean, that and the fact that nobody wants to be freezing cold outside.
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2. You Don’t Want to Be Productive
One massive impact that SAD has on people is the desire to do less work. People who suffer from this disorder don’t want to do much of anything, because of which their work suffers.
And they don’t get as much done because they choose not to be productive enough. Some people have been known to convince themselves that they’ve done enough work that day or they are tired so they don’t want their regular workload.
Sometimes it is hard to put your finger on why you don’t feel up to doing the same work that you usually do. It could be possible that you are feeling the mild effects of this disorder.
3. You Don’t Want to Be Outdoors
People blame the cold weather for things like colds and flu during the winter season. According to snowbrains.com and some scientific studies, people get sick around this time because of how often they stay indoors.
Indoors they are exposed to a higher concentration of airborne pollutants that causes these types of illnesses. This is a common symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
In fact, there are multiple studies online done by scholars as to why going outside and leaving your house during the winter months can be beneficial for your mental and physical health.
The real reason people don’t want to be outdoors is the lack of sunlight.In winters less sunlight, significantly impacts your secretion levels of melatonin that furthermore causes you to be drowsy and lethargic.
Melatonin is responsible for your sleep patterns and mood. So you don’t want to leave your house because you’re tired. SAD also causes us to be less social, so you don’t want to deal with people at all.
It just becomes easier during those winter months to stay inside and not be bothered by anybody, so that’s what people who had SAD will choose to do.
Here’s how you can motivate to play outdoors.
4. You Want to Eat a Lot of Comfort Foods And Carbs
You’ll notice that the things you want to eat during this time change too. You will go from wanting to eat your regular meals to just wanting to eat comfort foods.
According to Scholar articles and studies, SAD causes people to want to intake a large number of carbs and is a considerable cause for weight gain in a lot of women between the ages of twenty and forty.
As per NCBI, Women are four times more prone to SAD than men. The onset age of Seasonal Affective Disorder is between 18 to 30 years old women.
It is the same concept of eating when depressed. Certain unhealthy foods can seem comforting when your spirits are down.
Check out these healthy seasonal winter fruits that you must try.
5. You Don’t Want to Have Sex
Depression can make a person feel numb both emotionally and sexually. Another symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder is you don’t want to have sex.
A study found that more than 70 percent of depressed patients had a loss of sexual desire while not under medication.
SAD can cause your sex drive to be noticeably low, and if you do drudge your way into sex, you won’t enjoy it, and it will be tough for you to finish. Your mind will wander to its negative thoughts and your partner quite probably will feel that disconnect.
And it can discourage your partner from even trying to have sex in the future. Seasonal Affective Disorder takes away the pleasure of having sex.
Here is how to know if your sex life is bad and how to fix a sexless relationship/marriage?
Simple Ways to treat SAD
- There are ways to treat SAD. A lot of doctors are suggesting light therapy and medication.
- Light therapy is intentional exposure to a specific wavelength of light using lasers or even fluorescent lamps.
- You can purchase a special seasonal affective disorder lamp from Amazon. While choosing a lamp, check if it is suitable for seasonal affective disorder.
- Ask the opinion of your doctor before you buy the special seasonal affective disorder lamp.
- Check out the list of fun things to do in winter, try to get outdoors and keep yourself physically active.
- Enroll yourself for a new skill. Perhaps, join a swimming club for classes, or participate in indoor sports activities. By committing yourself to something, your mind gets prepared to get outdoor and not be depressed at home.
- Prepare a seasonal bucket list or to-do list for winter consisting of your short term goals to keep your mind occupied to not feel exhausted or depressed.
- The most popular treatment for this disorder is talk therapy. Apart from this, consider traveling to places near the equator with the scope of maximum sunlight during these months.
Unfortunately, SAD is real and impacts so many people during the winter months. That’s perhaps the reason why there are so many different love, giving, and fun encouraging holidays between September and March. It’s the time when people need to be around loved ones and smile the most.
Prolonged darkness in the winter months disrupts your internal clock. This darkness causes some changes in your mind and body causing tiredness and depression. So better be aware and try to get out to grasp more sunlight during these days. For instance by traveling.
After hearing all of this information, do you think you or someone you know suffers from seasonal affective disorder? What are some ways this disorder impacts decision making that wasn’t listed? Have you purchased a seasonal affective disorder lamp? Are they helpful?
Comment all of your thoughts down below!
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