Blog

January 8, 2020

Just the Winter Blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

Everyone feels down some days, but sometimes, depression can be exacerbated by the season. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is when people with good mental health throughout the year experience recurrent depressive symptoms, most commonly in winter. SAD affects 10 million Americans, and it’s four times as common among women. If you typically suffer from mood problems this time of year, here are signs it’s SAD and not just a typical case of the winter blues
 
1.     Hopeless feelings 
2.     Tendency to oversleep 
3.     Changes in appetite
4.     Weight gain
5.     Energy loss 
6.     Irritability 
7.     Difficulty concentrating
8.     Avoidance of social situations 
9.     Feelings of social rejection 
10.  A decline in physical activity
 
If depressive feelings are keeping you from doing activities you love, make an appointment with a nurse practitioner to see if you suffer from SAD. Treatments like light therapy, antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy can improve your quality of life in winter and help you prepare better for next year.