Have you ever heard of Seasonal Anxiety Disorder (SAD)? Well, it is an unusual condition where an individual experiences anxiety and depression for no obvious reason, other than the change of season. In the beginning, this condition was believed to be a myth, and was blamed on the winter months just being a tougher time of the year.
However, psychologists do believe that some individual’s mental health is affected by the change in season, which can have an effect on your anxiety. If this sounds a bit like you or you are simply interested, this is the article for you.
Seasonal Anxiety Disorder is a different term to Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is considered to be a subtype of depression. However, there are numerous overlaps between depressive and anxiety symptoms, so seasonal affective disorder may also present as anxiety symptoms that only come during a certain time of the year.
SAD is a complicated disorder where an individual experiences more anxiety during certain months of the year. Normally, it is during the winter months however; some individual’s experience the condition during the summer months.
It is not entirely clear what causes SAD, however experts believe it has to do with the amount of exposure to sunlight. This is because sunlight modulates your hormonal melatonin levels. Melatonin is linked to serotonin, the neurotransmitter (or brain chemical) most commonly liked to depression and anxiety.
One of the most wonderful things about anxiety is that even when a disorder is ‘cause’ by something else, you are able to manage it by working on your mental health. Studies show a link between psychological resilience, coping strategies and serotonin levels.
Therefore it is possible that engaging in certain coping strategies may increase the levels of serotonin in your brain.
Experts have recommended the following:
- Light therapy, which consists of shining a bright light in your face for an extended period of time to control the symptoms of SAD. Alongside getting outdoors more often and into the direct sunlight
- Exercise as it releases neurotransmitters that improve your mood whilst also burning away stress hormones and excess energy.
- Quality time with others to distract yourself and take your mind off of things
- This is a tough condition and be hard for most people to understand and/or treat. However we need to remember that SAD is still anxiety and there are ways of managing it to avoid detrimental affects occurring in your life and overall wellbeing.
Want to learn more” Check out How To Manage Your Weight When Living With A Mental Illness.