As the days become shorter in winter, it is natural for life to slow down. We all have different ways to deal with this shift. Some people slump in front of the television, while others stay warm under the covers for as long as they can. But how do you know when the changes you’re experiencing could be signs of a more serious problem?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a category of depression that affects some people during certain seasons. It is more common in the fall and winter months, but can also be experienced during spring and summer. Here are three symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Extreme Fatigue and Heavy Limbs
A constant feeling of exhaustion despite getting adequate sleep can be a sign of SAD. We all have those days when we have difficulty walking up, but a person with SAD typically can’t get out of bed or make it to work on time. Persistent tiredness, oversleeping, and a lack of energy are all red flags to watch out for and may point to this disorder. To make things worse, some people also experience a “leaden” or heavy feeling in their limbs, which can also be a symptom of SAD.
Sudden Weight Gain
Some people afflicted with this disorder will notice an increase in appetite, particularly a craving for heavy carbs such as pasta and bread. This can lead to a significant amount of weight gain. It’s not unusual to put on a few pounds during winter, especially during the holidays. However, people with full-blown SAD will typically gain much more weight than a few pounds.
Feeling Moody, Irritable or Easily Overwhelmed
Certain unusual mood changes can be an indication of SAD. If a normally happy, balanced person starts to brood, feel anxious, become more sensitive or get angry easily, they may be experiencing the symptoms of this disorder. They may also go through relationship problems and find it difficult to interact with others. Another emotion to watch out for is feeling overwhelmed. When a person is dealing with SAD, simple tasks and household chores can seem impossible to tackle.
If you think you’re experiencing SAD, it is important to seek help from a professional. In addition to this, certain lifestyle changes can improve symptoms. Try practicing relaxation exercises, getting plenty of sunlight, and incorporating regular exercise. But don’t be too hard on yourself if your symptoms don’t improve right away. Ask for help if you need to and start working towards managing this illness. By doing this, you can live a healthier, more balanced life in every season.
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