The dreary, bitter cold days of winter are enough to make you stay inside all day long. However, if you’ve been feeling down, moody, or socially withdrawn lately – and you notice the shift occurs in the winter months – you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression related to changes in the seasons, often occurring in the fall and continuing into late winter. Though the specific cause of SAD is unknown, many researchers and health professionals associate winter blues with a reduction in sunlight – which can disturb your body’s internal clock, drop serotonin (the “happy hormone”) levels, and disrupt your balance of melatonin. These rapid seasonal changes all affect sleep patterns, mood, and levels of depression.

 

Symptoms:

SAD is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not always constant and many people suffering from it don’t know what it is or ignore their symptoms. Like other forms of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to long-term problems if left untreated. Be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue and oversleeping
  • Sudden changes in appetite or weight
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or depression

 

When to Call a Doctor:

It’s normal to feel down sometimes, especially if you’re going through a particularly stressful period of time. However, if you consistently feel down for long periods of time, turn to drug or alcohol use, or have thoughts of suicide, see your doctor immediately.

 

AFC Urgent Care Hartsdale is committed to helping you stay physically and emotionally healthy all year long. If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of SAD, visit us for urgent care with no appointment necessary. We’re open at extended hours 7 days a week: Monday – Friday 8am to 8pm and Weekends 8am – 5pm.