Studies indicate that up to 20% of all Americans deal with some levels of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), a form of depression that accompanies darker, colder weather. Health.com has put together a list of the most common signs that SAD is taking a toll on you. Do any of them sound familiar?
- Sadness: You aren’t yourself and you find that your mood (like the weather) is much more dreary than normal. The things that usually bolster your spirts do little to cheer you up and you simply aren’t as happy as your normally are.
- Irritability: Your temper is short and you lack the patience you may be accustomed to. Small issues, such as having to wait in a long line or having someone step on your shoe, can incite great anger. A 2006 study found that 40% percent of participants who suffer from SAD reported having unjustifiable “anger attacks” from time to time.
- Sleep Issues: While many people tend to sleep more during colder months, SAD sufferers tend to suffer fatigue and an increased need for sleep. which may be further challenged by bouts of insomnia.
- Increased Hunger and Carb Cravings: Beware cravings for “comfort” foods! Some sixty-five percent of SAD patients are said to experience increased appetites during the winter, which scientists have linked to a seasonal drop in serotonin, the neurotransmitter that controls hunger and correlates with mood. Carbs tend to release serotonin, which may make you feel better…until your spring clothes don’t fit!
- Difficulty Concentrating: Even “mild” depression can take a major toll on your cognitive processes, which can impact concentration, speaking ability, and memory
- Lack of Interest in Sex: Many SAD patients see their libido go down with the temperature. Disinterest in sex is common among those who suffer depression during the fall and winter.
If you have been experiencing these symptoms for more than two weeks, let your doctor know ASAP. SAD can be a sign of a much more serious issue than simply feeling down because its cold outside. Don’t take seasonal depression lightly!