On Your Health

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How to Handle Seasonal Affective Disorder

03 November 2014

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As winter approaches and we return to standard daylight time, the amount of sunlight gets shorter and shorter each day. This change can have an adverse affect on your mood and behavior. Sara Barry, a licensed behavioral practitioner for INTEGRIS, discusses seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and what you can do to find out if the change in seasons is affecting your frame of mind.

Fall is in full swing and light sweatshirts and jackets are turning into bulky sweaters and winter coats. With colder temperatures and shorter days, it is common to get bogged down by the seasonal changes. One may even find that their mood is beginning to change.

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that affects a person during this same time each year.

Experts are not certain what the cause of SAD is. However, it is believed that it may be due to a lack of exposure to sunlight. For those who live in parts of the country where the winter days are short, the lack of daylight may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin which directly affects a person's mood.

If you have noticed a change in your mood, such as being grumpy or more anxious than usual, losing interest in your usual activities, gaining weight, or developing problems in your sleep cycles, you should consider taking a mental health screening. These online questionnaires are quick, easy and will provide you with the resources that you need to get back to feeling like yourself again.

If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from SAD, take a free anonymous online mental health screening and access free information and resources including videos and podcasts from Dr. R. Murali Krishna by visiting INTEGRIS Mental Health.