Autumn has arrived, bringing shorter days and less light. This change in the amount of light is a signal to animals, plants and, before the light bulb, people, that seasons are changing. While those most dramatically affected are those in the higher latitudes, many people in the UK are negatively affected by this shift.
Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), also known as ‘winter depression’ is a type of a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, with symptoms more severe between September and April. The NHS estimates that SAD affects approximately one in 15 people in the UK during the darker months.
Symptoms of SAD include:
- Lethargy, lack of energy, inability to carry out a normal routine
- Sleep problems, difficulty staying awake during the day, but having disturbed nights sleeps
- Loss of libido, disinterest in physical contact
- Anxiety, inability to cope
- Social problems, irritability, disinterest in seeing people
- Depression, feelings of gloom and despondency for no apparent reason
- Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, leading to weight gain
Many people in the UK suffer with SAD, so it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
While light therapy is a popular treatment for SAD, lifestyle factors play a large role too. Getting as much natural sunlight as possible is particularly important, as is managing your stress levels. Exercise is also integral to the treatment of SAD. It has long been known that regular exercise is good for our physical health, but studies also show exercise to be of benefit to our mental wellbeing. Exercise gives you control of your body and is a known mood booster. Your chiropractor can give you a general check to make sure that your bones, joints and muscles are functioning properly and advise on the best exercise solution for you.