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Know the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Stepy Kamei

When thinking about ways to take care of your well-being, it's crucial not to forget about your mental health. There are certain mental health conditions that are well-known, such as depression and anxiety, which affect millions of Americans every year. However, there are some conditions that remain under the radar due to misconceptions or just a lack of knowledge and understanding. One of these conditions is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the unfortunately but appropriately named SAD. If you know anything about SAD, you might know that it tends to affect people during the dark winter months, but recent studies are showing that it can actually impact people during the summer as well. Keep on reading to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of SAD, so you can be better equipped to manage or even prevent this health issue from affecting your life in the first place.

The Symptoms of SAD

Simply put, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition which affects the mental health of people who have an otherwise stable mental state during a specific time of the year, every year. Generally, the symptoms are associated with the coming of winter. However, recent studies have shown this can affect people during the summer as well.

Typical symptoms of winter-induced SAD include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, oversleeping or experiencing insomnia, and severely decreased energy. Meanwhile, summer SAD often brings about heightened levels of anxiety and reduced intake of food.

Summer SAD impacts about 10 percent of all seasonal disorders, which is equivalent to less than 1 percent of the total population. Still, it is an important condition to know about so that people who may be suffering can get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treating SAD Year-Round

Patients dealing with winter SAD are almost universally treated with a light box. This has been shown to elevate feelings of happiness and increase energy levels since winter so often means a reduced exposure to light, which is one of the main causes of SAD. However, this is not necessarily a helpful treatment for summer SAD patients. Instead, it may help to do the exact opposite, by spending more time indoors with air conditioning, to limit exposure to the sun and heat, which may be exacerbating symptoms.

If you feel like you may be experiencing any sort of change to your mental well-being, be sure to make an appointment to speak to a mental health professional as soon as possible.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Morrisville, N.C. 

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