A SAD story: Seasonal Affective Disorder
- 12:20 am
- 2 Comments
- Anxiety in Teens
When I first moved to Minneapolis from California, my boyfriend who has been living here for most of his life warned me about something that can start to happen when the days get shorter and colder. SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a type of depression that can come and go just like the seasons themselves, and it is much more common to develop SAD when living in an area where the weather is particularly dark and cold.
Most doctors believe that SAD is clinically caused by a lack of sunlight on the human body. The sun does not just provide our bodies with warmth; it also adds vital nutrients such as vitamin D. The light itself is even important and in fact one of the best known treatments for SAD is light therapy. There are two kinds of light therapy that I found: Bright light treatment, and Dawn treatment. In the first, you sit in front of a box with a light in it for about an hour or so. In the ladder, there is a light installed in your room that turns on in the morning and becomes gradually brighter in order to simulate sunrise.
Others whom I talked to about the disorder have told me that they do not have SAD, and yet they still feel the effects of the harsh and gloomy winters seasonally, as one with SAD would. This convinced me that even those who do not have SAD can still have the minor symptoms. They usually try and beat the freeze with things like hot tea and cocoa, setting up more lights than usual around the holidays, and even becoming more active. One friend swears that with a quick trip to the gym, along with all of the lights and the televisions on the treadmills, and she feels right back to normal. I have been living here for going on two years now and although I have been struggling with anxiety as well as some minor SAD conditions, my go-to for the, excuse the pun, sad days is a hot coffee or home-made caramel macchiato and my favorite happy movie, usually Tangled.
People who develop SAD often feel back to their usual happy selves once Spring arrives, but for all those who think they might be affected by SAD, there are clinical ways to feel better. You never have to feel like there are no options. If you feel more gloomy than usual, talk to your doctor. SAD can be an indication of major depression and those who have it may feel a heightened anxiety during the summer seasons. Don’t lose sleep over SAD, and remember that Anxiety in Teens is here to help you remember that you are never alone in any struggle with depression or anxiety.