Seasonal affective disorder: Don’t settle for SAD

It’s one thing to snuggle under the covers because you want to ward off winter’s chill. But if longer, darker days have you:

  • Feeling depressed
  • Oversleeping
  • Eating too much, especially carbs
  • Gaining weight
  • Avoiding social activities

You might have seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. If you think that might be the case, reach out to your healthcare provider or a mental health specialist — the sooner the better. Once you’re diagnosed, treatment can help.

SAD is caused by several factors. Among them? A disturbed circadian rhythm, which is your body’s natural 24-hour cycle. How your body regulates serotonin, a hormone that helps with sleep. Lowered eye sensitivity to blue light. And, of course, genetics.

To ease the symptoms, your doctor or sleep specialist might recommend talk therapy, antidepressants, vitamin D and/or light therapy, which involves exposure to certain types of light for specific times each day.

Of course, don’t pursue any course of treatment without checking with your doctor. But with help, you may have a (literally) brighter winter.

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