If you struggle with the “winter blues” every year, and you find it difficult to get through this seasonal funk, you may actually have a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This subtype of depression relates to the changes in season and begins and ends at about the same time each year.
Many with SAD find themselves dealing with depressive feelings starting in the fall. As the cold weather months continue, you may feel moodier or lack the energy to do the things you enjoy. The symptoms of SAD are similar to those who have other forms of depression. The cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is unknown. However, most believe it may have something to do with decreased sunlight or an imbalance of serotonin and melatonin levels in the body.
SAD Facts and Statistics
Those with SAD may find it comforting to know they are not alone in their seasonal depression. Here are some of the facts and statistics related to Seasonal Affective Disorder:
- Seasonal Affective Disorder is not a separate condition. It’s a type of depression with a recurring seasonal pattern.
- To receive a SAD diagnosis, you must meet similar criteria for major depression which coincides with specific seasons for two years or longer. In addition, your seasonal depression should be more frequent than any non-seasonal depression experienced.
- In the U.S. alone, about five percent of the population experiences symptoms associated with SAD.
- About 10 to 20 percent of the population may unknowingly have a mild form of SAD.
- Depending on your geographical region, the prevalence of SAD ranges anywhere from zero to 10 percent of the population.
- Although less common, some people experience symptoms during the opposite seasons — beginning in the spring and continuing into summer.
- Four out of five of the patients with SAD are women.
- Most people begin experiencing SAD symptoms between the ages of 20 and 30. However, seasonal depression can appear earlier.
- Research shows that the further someone is from the equator, the higher the risk is for developing Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- If you have a blood relative with SAD or another psychiatric disorder you may be more at risk of developing the condition.
- Fifty-five percent of SAD patients report a close relative with a depressive disorder, and 34 percent have a relative who abuses alcohol.
- About six percent of those with the disorder require hospitalization.
- Although treatment recommendations are similar to other depressive disorders, SAD can also be treated with light therapy which consists of daily exposure to artificial, high-intensity light.
Get Help to Overcome SAD This Winter
Don’t just brush off the “winter blues” or feel like you have to tough it out on your own. If you need help overcoming SAD, Brookhaven Retreat is here to offer women who are experiencing mental health disorders a place of compassionate support. Whether you’re struggling with SAD or another mental health disorder, we are here for you.
Contact us today to find out about our mental health treatment center for women located in the serene Tennessee foothills.