At this week’s Cheer Up the Blues open house, Rudy’s Happy Patch Market set up a display table and offered information on seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This type of depression usually occurs during fall and winter months and may affect 10 – 20% of the population. While doctors are not sure of the cause of SAD, it is suspected to be brought on by a lack of sufficient sunlight during the months when daylight hours are shorter. Lack of adequate sunlight can upset a person’s biological clock and circadian rhythms. It can also cause problems with serotonin, a brain chemical that is known to affect mood.
Symptoms of SAD may include: feelings of sadness, moodiness, and/or anxiety, loss of interest in normal activities, increased craving of simple carbohydrates; e.g., bread and pasta, weight gain, increased sleep combined with feelings of fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Most of the above symptoms are also associated with other types of depression. What really distinguishes SAD is the fact that it tends to occur temporarily during fall and winter. If you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms, a physician or mental health professional can provide evaluation, information, and treatment.
In the photo above, local citizens stop by the market during Cheer Up the Blues to grab a cookie, some cider, and important information on depression.