Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects over ten million of us in the United States each year, two-thirds of which are female, but males may have symptoms that are more severe. While the true cause of SAD is not known, it is commonly thought that decreased melatonin levels caused from the limited exposure to sunlight in the winter are involved, as well as decreased serotonin levels which may trigger depression. Our biological clock (circadian rhythm) which lets our body know when to sleep and to be awake is also disrupted when the seasons change and may cause feelings of depression.
Other factors that may contribute to SAD include genetics, hormones, and stress. Whatever the cause, SAD causes people to suffer irritability, headaches, extreme fatigue and lethargy, increased appetite, carbohydrate cravings, an inability to concentrate, and decreased libido. Yay, change of season!!
As with other types of depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder can get worse…
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