Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression associated with the changing seasons and is most often seen from late autumn until early spring. Experts have not definitely proven what causes SAD yet, though most agree lack of sunlight through the winter months plays a major roll. Lack of sunlight can affect your sleep-wake cycle and other innate bodily functions reliant on regular sun exposure, including serotonin levels (a chemical produced by the brain that influences appetite, mood, and temperature regulation).
Why is it Important?
Most people experience the “winter blues” at some point throughout the season, but those who experience SAD are forced to battle something much more serious. If left untreated, SAD can negatively impact your work, home, and social life. SAD, like any type of depression, significantly increases absenteeism and decreases presenteeism at work. This can cost both the employer and the employee money and decrease quality and quantity of work produced. On a personal level, weight gain associated with SAD can lead to numerous health problems and potentially create additional sources of long-term depression. SAD is a serious condition that should be identified and treated quickly.
One of the most common ways to treat SAD is through light therapy. Increasing light at home and in the office can potentially offset the lack of sunlight. Also, regular exercise increases endorphins and serotonin levels, boosting energy and mood. SAD often creates new and unusual food cravings. To combat this, and the associated weight gain, creating and maintaining a healthy nutrition plan is crucial. Check back with Inspire throughout the winter for more advice on fighting back against SAD.
-Feeling sad, anxious, irritable, or depressed
-Losing interest in your usual routine or activities
-Increased caloric intake and unusual cravings
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