There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding concerning Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. However statistics show that an alarming number of us suffer from this disorder, and not many of us seem to know exactly what it is. In simple terms it’s a form of depression that is affected by lack of sunlight and exposure, which means it tends to be more recurrent in the winter due to the shorter days and darker weather. There is also a tendency to disregard SAD as simply being ‘winter blues’, but it is more serious than that and should require professional help and care. Here are some things that only people suffering with SAD will tend to understand.
SAD Is Not Winter Dependent
Most people assume that SAD is only present during the winter months, but this is simply not true. SAD can affect people during summer and spring, with the prolonged days and warmer climate leading them to suffer from the depressive disorder. It’s true that most cases occur during the colder, darker months, but we should take note that there are those that suffer because of the opposite conditions.
Anyone Can Suffer From SAD
Although most cases we hear of involving SAD tend to include women, and facts show that the majority of sufferers are indeed female, we must not forget that anyone from anywhere in the world can suffer from this form of depression. Men for example are less likely to be diagnosed, but those that do develop the disorder seem to have more severe symptoms. Studies have also shown that those most likely to be affected are of a younger age, and also live further from the equator due to the extreme differences in daylight hours. Genetics seems to play a vital role as well.
Children Can Also Develop SAD
Although it is not commonly heard of or mentioned, children can suffer from SAD also, just as they can suffer from other forms of depression. Identifying the problem can be difficult, since the symptoms are similar to that of general depression – loss of appetite, sleeping for an alarming number of hours, lack of concentration and energy, and being withdrawn and isolated. If you believe your child could potentially be suffering, take action immediately and seek professional consultation. In the meantime, you could also be supportive by taking more care in what you feed them, make an effort to spend more time with them and push them to do what they enjoy doing.
Depression Is Not The Same As SAD
A common misconception from those who are not familiar with the disorder is to assume that sufferers of SAD also have general depression. This is not the case. If they were depressed throughout the year regardless of external circumstances, then how would it even be possible to diagnose seasonal affective disorder? Once a SAD cycle is over, then the individual will recover from their depression and will be back to their regular old selves. What differentiates SAD from general depression is the ability to recover from these seasonal bouts of depression. You must also suffer similar circumstances at the same time of year for two or more consecutive years to be professionally diagnosed with SAD.