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Distinguishing Between Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression

Dr. M David KurlandThis winter has been very tough on a lot of people, and even though we are on the last stretch, it’s still affecting mood changes and making our winter blues even worse. Each year, more than 10 million people in the US are diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD), a problem that is related to depression occurring in the winter months. This phenomenon is experienced more by populations in the Northeast, and it affects women more than man. However, it is difficult to distinguish if people are experiencing seasonal depression or if it’s a more serious problem.

Below are some signs that you could be experiencing SAD and  your blues are season related.

1. Sleeping in Late
Snoozing is a lot of people’s favorite activity during the winter months, especially during those snowy and chilling mornings. The science behind this is that SAD affects your melatonin levels, which eventually will disrupt your sleeping habits.

2. No Enjoyment in Fun Activities
SAD is a big factor in people retreating from normal social activities and becoming more closed off during the winter months. Experts in this field mention that even your work might suffer from this condition, as you begin to lose interest in routine daily tasks. Withdrawing from social circles is another primary measurement of depression.

3. Carbo Loading
According to a study conducted by the Mayo clinic seasonal depression is a big factor in consuming more than the normal amount of carbohydrates. During these months people also experience abnormal eating habits, while the summer is a time to be active.

The crucial distinction between Seasonal Affective Disorder and other types of depression is that people who experience SAD feel fine during the other seasons. In most cases, SAD is usually only present during the rough and long winter months. Once the cold is over, people are able to bounce back and return to their normal routine. If these symptoms are prevalent for longer than the winter months, you should reach out to a professional.

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