Why so SAD?


It’s common to be affected by changing seasons and weather, or to have times of  the year when you feel more or less comfortable.  You might find that your mood or energy levels drop when it gets colder or warmer, or notice changes in your sleeping or eating patterns.   If your feelings are interfering with your day to day life, it could be a sign that you have depression – and if they keep coming back at the same time of year, doctors might call this seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or ‘seasonal depression’.

SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter, but you can be affected by SAD at any time of the year.

Seasonal affective disorder varies between individuals affected, however, these 5 common, and often overwhelming, signs typically exist and suggest you or someone you love might need help to manage the symptoms of SAD?

  • Feeling completely exhausted all the time!

A draining and sudden lack of energy for no apparent reason may be your first indication that something is amiss. SAD sufferers usually describe feelings of both mental and physical fatigue, as well as a weighted feeling throughout the entire body that makes otherwise easy activities and tasks completely exhausting.

  • Problems with concentration

Issues with memory and concentration may also be indicators of this disorder.  Many describe this lack of focus as difficulties with remembering appointments to the more severe inability to make simple and routine decisions such as what to eat or wear.

  • Feelings  of  hopelessness

An otherwise happy-go-lucky person may experience severe despondency .  This can include feelings of self-loathing, worthlessness, hopelessness, and an all-around miserable outlook on life 

  • Sleeping difficulties

Sudden changes in sleep patterns – which can range from sleeping all the time (hypersomnia) to not sleeping at all (insomnia).  This may indicate an issue if your  health is otherwise good. You may notice that you wake up frequently throughout the night or wake exhausted even though you slept 8-hours.

  • Irritability

Many sufferers complain of being on an emotional rollercoaster where one minute they are in tears and the next minute they are overcome with anger. On a less severe scale, you may also feel agitated, anxious and restless, but not understand why or what to do to combat it.

What causes SAD?

The exact cause is not fully understood, but it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days.

The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the:

  • production of melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels
  • production of serotonin – serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression
  • body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) – your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock.

If you would like some further information, or to speak to a member of our team,  please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: hitchin@healesclinics.com or luton@healesclinics.com


Peter Heale Chiropractor in Hitchin and LutonFrom the team at Heale's Chiropractic Clinics
Over 30 years of helping people in Hitchin and Luton and the surrounding areas of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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