Is it Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder? When Feeling Sad Turns to S.A.D.

Is it Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder? When Feeling Sad Turns to S.A.D.

Girl with dark long hair and square-patterned blanket staring out of glass window

Shorter days, early sunsets, gloomy skies and heavy rain. You guessed it right: that’s winter season. We’ve all known someone who feels a little bit droopy and sullen when that time of year comes around, yet some are more affected than others.

What’s S.A.D. and when does it kick in?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a subtype of depression which is induced by seasonal weather changes. With fall being the onset, it persists through winter and vanishes by spring. Meanwhile, the person might show a remarkable lack of interest and energy: often getting very moody and experiencing a shift in sleeping and eating patterns. While severe symptoms can end up corrupting one’s functionality by causing social and professional withdrawal or impairment, an early detection of these symptoms can be life saving.

Are you concerned?

While 17.2 percent of the Lebanese population is at risk of developing depression, a study conducted by Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC) in partnership with Harvard University has shown that Lebanese citizens with a mood disorder wait an average of six years before seeking treatment and only half of them end up asking for help.

That being said, anyone can suffer from S.A.D., independent of race, gender, social status or cultural background. Yet being a woman, family history, living far from the equator and antecedents of bipolar are all risk factors to developing S.A.D., according to the National Institution for Mental Health.

“Lebanese citizens with a mood disorder wait an average of six years before seeking treatment and only half of them end up asking for help.”

In fact, fighting back depression requires a lot of will, patience and perseverance, so gear up and let’s talk ACTION!

Tip #1: defeat negative thinking

In this process, several negative thoughts can fuel your depression and develop into a stubborn, pessimistic pattern that is often hard to give up. For that, you don’t have to switch into thinking positive, but instead embrace the fact that every situation has two sides: seeing the glass both half full and half empty helps you build a balanced, realistic perspective.

Tip #2: get active while being mindful

Try to list all the activities you enjoy doing and proceed with them, even though it might be daunting to start. For instance, get a daily dose of sunlight and ignite your senses; connecting to your environment and embracing life is an antidote to the numbness usually imposed by depression.

Tip #3: seek social support or professional help

You are not alone nor do you have to be. Life could be harsh and friends and family are there for a reason. Moreover, a specialist can help you learn to detect and manage the symptoms, understand their underlying causes and set a prevention plan in case of future relapse.

“Your mental health deserves your attention. Be kind to your mind; your now is not your forever.”