Updated: Jul 2, 2019
About 2 to 6% of Canadians will experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) in their lifetime. Another 15% experience a milder form of S.A.D. Women are up to eight times as likely as men to report having S.A.D.
So, what really is S.A.D? Many people experience seasonal changes in feelings of well being and in energy, sleep patterns and eating patterns, to a greater or lesser degree. The winter blues or February blahs are common. But some people experience powerful changes to the degree that it becomes a form of clinical depression, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)
Oversleeping, low energy levels, difficulty concentrating, feeling hopeless, intense cravings for carbohydrates, weight gain, and withdrawal from social contacts are some of the commonly seen symptoms of S.A.D. If you think you have S.A.D, you should visit your Family Physician. Discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor and describe how they are affecting your life (e.g. sleeping several extra hours per day and missing work/school/appointments). Your doctor can suggest or provide appropriate therapy. Make sure to discuss all of the available treatments and medications and their benefits and side effects before making any decisions. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-treatment, always consult a Physician.
Here's what you can do to make your days feel brighter when it's dull and gloomy outside:
1. Make sure you engage in adequate physical activity
2. Get adequate sleep
3. Minimize your alcohol intake
4. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet (more proteins, less carbohydrates, lots of fresh fruits and veggies)
There's a lot of information and support for people with S.A.D. So, don't hold yourself back. See a doctor, talk to a friend, ask for help. Have questions about S.A.D? Feel free to post a comment or connect with me.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.