After setting your clock back this morning you might feel like winter is already here with its longer, darker days.
Believe it or not, that gloomy feeling you get every year when we set our clocks back could be a form of depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern. For many, it hits right around this time of year.
“What is interesting about SAD is while it matches many of the symptoms of major depressive disorder in that you have to feel down for at least two weeks and really not enjoy most of the activities you normally enjoy, you often crave carbohydrates and gain weight, you sleep too much and you’re extremely fatigued,” said Mimi Morris, a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
Morris also said your chances of developing SAD are much higher living here in Montana, and it’s a disorder that can affect anyone.
For example, in places like Florida the prevalence is about one percent while in Alaska it’s nine percent. SAD is also four times more common in women than men, and it happens to people of all ages.
To offset the symptoms of SAD, Morris suggests getting ahead of it while you can.
“Go outside and get some sunlight. You can try a timer in your room to turn a light on early if you’re oversleeping. They even make lamps now that are dawn simulating lamps that will create a little mini sunrise in your room. Eating balanced diet, getting enough sleep,” said Morris.
Morris also suggests cutting back on screen time right before bed.
“In the event that you become severely depressed it’s so important to get help. You’re never alone,” said Morris.