Feeling low now it’s the winter months? And is this a pattern for you? Sadness that comes on when the seasons change?
You might have seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder means that you have a cycle of depression every year that is linked to the seasons.
It has all the same symptoms as depression:
What makes SAD different is that:
If your mild sadness has a cyclical pattern that matches the seasons, it might still be SAD. Depression is on a spectrum, from mild to severe, and seasonal affective disorder can be the same.
And you are far from alone. A survey carried out by the Weather Channel in conjunction with Yougov found that 8% of Brits suffer from serious seasonal affective disorder, with up to 29% suffering some degree of winter depression.
The exact cause isn’t clear, although it’s connected to things like how sunlight affects hormones and brain chemicals, and to circadian rhythms, your body’s ‘internal clock’ which reduced levels of sunlight affect.
It’s also thought there might be a genetic tendency.
This is possible. It’s called ‘reverse seasonal affective disorder’. This means you feel good in the colder months, but get depressed when the weather becomes sunny and hotter.
There are practical steps to take, such as getting outside when there is any sun, keeping up a steady exercise routine, eating well, and managing any life stress.