“Winter is coming!” is a well-known phrase for fans of “Game of Thrones.” In the HBO series, the harsh and intense winter inevitably brings White Walkers, demon-like creatures who aim to destroy mankind. We, too, understand dreading winter because it usually means spending lots of money and/or time with cantankerous in-laws. Some of us, however, dread winter for completely different reasons.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), commonly referred to as the winter blues or seasonal depression, affects many people this time of year.
SAD is not necessarily the sadness that can come during the holidays from missing loved ones or from getting pummeled with questions like, “When are you getting married?” or “When are you having children?” from your relatives.
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression related to change in seasons which occurs about the same time every year. A physician will be able to diagnose SAD.
While the specific causes for SAD are unknown, Winter’s shorter days, longer nights, and colder weather contribute to the disorder. A common theory is that a lack of sunlight decreases serotonin levels, which regulate mood. SAD can manifest as general lethargy, feelings of worthlessness, insatiable cravings for sugar and carbs, and extreme irritability. There’s a tendency to isolate oneself and, in serious cases, suicidal thoughts can occur.
Treatments for SAD include the following:
- Consuming a Healthy Diet
- Spending More Time Outdoors
- Limiting Alcohol and Caffeine
- Increasing Sunlight Exposure
- Using a Sun Lamp
- Supplementing with Vitamin D
If your White Walker comes in the form of SAD, arm yourself with these weapons. The best treatment is usually a balance of all the above. Contact a medical professional for more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Carla Morgan has a Master’s degree in professional counseling and is an Aesthetician with Ashtoria Aesthetics & Wellness specializing in medical facial treatments and skincare counseling. For an appointment call 901.310.3530 or visit Ashtoria.com.