Health & wellbeing

Do you suffer from SAD?

The weather might be bringing you down, but for some of us, it’s more serious than that. Here’s how to manage symptoms of seasonal affective disorder…
What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s linked to the seasons. Most sufferers experience symptoms during the colder months of the year.

Like other forms of depression, symptoms including persistent low mood, loss of interest in things you used to find enjoyable, feelings of despair, worthlessness and lethargy. You may also find it harder to wake up in the morning and crave carbohydrates. The main difference between other forms of depression and SAD, however, is that these feelings typically come on during autumn or winter and improve in the spring.

How can it be treated?

If you think you might be suffering from SAD, see your GP. Your doctor can give you a definitive diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment for you. Treatments for Sad are the same as any other depressive illness, ranging from CBT for mild cases to antidepressants for more severe cases.

These steps can also help:

  • Allow as much natural light into your home and workplace as possible by opening curtains and blinds, decluttering your space, and cutting back overgrown trees or plants in the garden that are blocking sunlight.
  • Light therapy – sitting in front of a light box that emulates daylight for 30 minutes to an hour each morning – may help to improve mood. If you struggle in the mornings, you might want to consider a dawn-simulating alarm clock that wakes you up gradually with light instead of sound.
  • Regular exercise – especially outdoors. Even a daily walk at lunchtime can help.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.