Each season of the year is beautiful in its own way; throughout centuries, people have learned to benefit from each of them, mostly in terms of agriculture and hunting. There are, however, dangers some seasons possess; in winter, it is frost; in summer, exhausting heat; in spring, floods and flower pollen (bad for allergic people). But what about autumn? For many people, fall is not just a time of golden leaves and heavy rains, but also a period when people become melancholic, depressed, tired, and sleepy. Why? The answer is: because they develop symptoms of seasonal affected disorder (or SAD), or seasonal depression, as it is commonly called.
SAD mostly affects a person’s mood; the same time each year, an individual with SAD will experience mood changes and other symptoms, usually starting from September or October, when the weather becomes colder and days are shorter (Mayo Clinic). This period ends in April or May, but in rare cases, people may experience SAD even in the summer (Cleveland Clinic).
According to scientists, among the possible reasons why an individual may have a SAD, there may be certain brain hormones triggering attitude-related changes during specific periods of a year. Less sunlight can cause our brains to produce less serotonin—a hormone that directly affects our positive mood; the more serotonin your brain produces, the better you feel. The lack of this hormone can result in feeling depressed and exhausted. Respectively, SAD is less often observed in those regions of the world where people do not have a lack of sunlight, even in winter (WebMD).
The most common symptoms of autumn or winter SAD are the following: anxiety, irritability, self-isolation, loss of interest in hobbies, sadness, absentmindednes, psychological and physical fatigue, sleepiness, and weight gain. The more rare summer SAD includes symptoms that are the opposite: restlessness, problems with sleeping, and decreased appetite (Cleveland Clinic).
Seasonal depression is not the same as major depression (however, it does not mean that major depression cannot have the symptoms of SAD). Generally, SAD is a temporary psychological condition connected to the lack of serotonin caused by the change of seasons. Among the most common SAD symptoms one should mention anxiety, irritability, absentmindedness, abandoning one’s usual social activities and hobbies, fatigue, and so on. In the case of the more rare summer SAD, the symptoms may be the opposite, including problems with sleep, weight loss, and restlessness. SAD is less rare than we usually imagine, and we should be on guard to not be susceptible to its adverse effects.
“Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
“Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
“Seasonal Depression (SAD).” Cleveland Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.