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Sad from the SADs?

Author: Callum Woodward


You may or may not have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It has similar characteristics to depression and presents itself in seasonal patterns. It typically comes around in the winter months when the days are shorter and the nights are darker, colder and longer.


The cause of SAD isn’t totally understood - but it is often linked to these shorter and darker days, that the lack of sunlight limits your brain’s ability to produce certain hormones which keep you chemically balanced. That’s partly what mental illness is, a form of chemical imbalance which throws you off-kilter. The change in the hours of sunlight can also really affect your sleeping patterns, because your body uses the hours of sunlight to time how certain functions of your body work. I don’t think it is any coincidence that certain mammals hibernate during the winter, it may feel like that at times, for SAD sufferers.  


If you’re suffering from SAD, you might have some symptoms like: low energy, low mood, not wanting to see people and socialise and not having motivation to do anything - even things you normally enjoy doing! It can also include some of the symptoms that you would ordinarily associate with typical depression like indecisiveness, reduced sex drive, low self-esteem, sleeping too much or too little, and can affect your appetite.


As with all kinds of mental health issues, there are many different avenues of treatment available to you:


- Getting as much natural sunlight as possible during the shorter days will be really beneficial, even if you just walk a bit more on your daily commute.


- Light therapy is the act of using a special lamp to simulate sunlight.


- Talking therapies, such as the ones you can get from the Lighthouse Psychotherapy Practice are always incredibly useful.


- Antidepressants and other forms of medication.


If you would like to understand this condition more please click on the links below. Remember, you don’t have to suffer in silence, reach out for some help.


Useful Links:


NHS website with details about SAD


Mind.Org’s details about SAD


Contact emails for LPP’s psychotherapists:

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