Sad news to report.
An analysis Mental health consulting firm Thriveworks points out that seasonal affective disorder will peak in the second full week of November, according to online search trends. That means we are in the middle of it all.
Last year, seasonal depression was expected to peak in the first week of November – this year it is expected to be even more intense.
“Currently, search trends in 2023 will be 33.34% higher than in 2021 and 2.44% higher in 2022 than last year,” Thriveworks noted.
While many enjoy the extra hour of sleep that the end of Daylight Saving Time provides, the time change and earlier sunsets can lead to seasonal affective disorder, medically known as seasonal affective disorder.
The condition affects about 5% of adults in the U.S., while another 10-20% experience milder winter blues. according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Notes on Johns Hopkins Medicine that the body produces more melatonin when the days are shorter and darker – the sleep-related hormone has been linked to SAD.
In its latest analysis, Thriveworks found that snow-covered cities in the Midwest, as well as Idaho Falls, Idaho, Springfield, Massachusetts, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Burlington, Vermont, are particularly affected.
Here’s the sad truth about SAD.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
According to Johns Hopkins, most SAD symptoms typically appear in late fall. They tend to taper off when summer comes. Symptoms include:
- Increased sleep and daytime sleepiness combined with low energy levels
- Loss of interest and enjoyment in favorite activities
- Social withdrawal
- Irritability and anxiety
- Feelings of guilt and hopelessness
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
- Craving carbohydrates and sweets
- Weight gain
Who is most susceptible to SAD?
Women are more susceptible to SAD – as are people who tend to live further north or south of the equator. according to the Mayo Clinicwhich indicates that it is probably due to lack of light.
People with bipolar disorder are also particularly vulnerable.
Can Vitamin D Treat SAD?
Although the Mayo Clinic states that “there is no known way to prevent the development of seasonal affective disorder,” sufferers can manage the side effects.
One option is to take vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin.”
A study from 2020 in the journal Depression and Anxiety found that vitamin D supplements can reduce negative emotions.
“If you’re deficient in vitamin D, it can be related to depression, sadness, overeating and lethargy,” says Marwa Azab, an anxiety expert at California State University, Long Beach. he told the local ABC affiliate in June.
Does light therapy work for SAD?
Hopkins recommends also spending time in sunlight, either outside or near a window.
If that’s not possible, light therapy and artificial lighting – about 20 times the power of normal indoor lighting – can help.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends engaging in social activities and exercising for 30 minutes at least three times per week, as exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.