Getting SAD: Behind Seasonal Affective Disorder

A look at Seasonal Depression

Cloudy skies, snow, and frigid wind chills make it perfect weather for people to stay indoors, but seeing that weather from the inside can sometimes make people SAD with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD is a seasonal depression that occurs to people across the country, usually in the fall and winter, but sometimes can occur in the spring.

Dr. Swati Dhankikar, a psychiatrist with Sanford Health, says that symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are similar to depression and can be specific to the season.

“The differentiating features between people with seasonal affective disorder in the fall and winter include hypersomnia, or increase in the amount of sleep, increase in appetite,” explains Dhankikar.

Dhankikar also says that people who have SAD care less about things and people that make them happy.

In order to prevent the disorder, Dhankikar says being in an everyday routine usually helps out.

“I usually recommend my patients go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. When you go to bed, try not to think about what’s going to happen the next day,” she says.

She also says it’s good to plan ahead and keep the light low at night, but during the day, light therapy involving sitting in front of special lamps during the day.

“We usually recommend a white light or bright light, usually more than 10,000 watts in power,” Dhankikar explains.

And with more light, that can help put a smile on your face, when there’s less sunshine from Mother Nature.

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