December is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Awareness Month. Each year, millions of Americans are affected by this condition, which brings on significant mood changes in response to the changing of seasons.
Typically SAD occurs during late fall and winter months, when there is less sunlight and colder weather. The symptoms usually lift during the spring and summer months.
SAD is a type of depression, so the symptoms look similar to depression symptoms, and can include:
- Sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in formerly enjoyable activities
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Overeating (or conversely, lack of appetite)
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- Social withdrawal
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If these describe you or a loved one this time of year, you are not alone. Talk to a mental health specialist or health care provider and find out what therapies or treatments may be available to you.