For many, this time of the year is not as cheerful as it is for others. Seasonal depression is real and can affect many people.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a specific type of depression. By recognizing SAD in family and friends, you can help them rise above this issue and make the holiday season and winter months much easier and maybe even more joyful.
It is important to know the signs of SAD so you can provide support and encourage them to seek help and treatment. Seasonal Affective Disorder typically occurs in the colder months when daylight hours are shorter. Here are some tips to help you spot the signs to look for:
Knowing and understanding what to look for is the first step. Understanding this type of depression can help you to empathize and support your loved one. Seasonal Affective Disorder often happens in the fall and winter when natural sunlight diminishes. As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, SAD can creep in and cause depression.
Remember to listen with an open mind. Being empathetic and expressing concern is essential. Approach them in a non-judgmental manner and talk to them about their feelings. Showing that you care will open up a door to their inner feelings. Ask them if they have noticed any changes in the way they are feeling emotionally and physically. Don’t assume you know how they are feeling; everyone reacts differently to situations, and it is important that they know that they’re being understood and talking to someone who cares.
SAD can have a different effect on everyone. It is important to note any shift in mood, different patterns, or behaviors. If you notice that they are less social, more irritable, or have lost interest in things they once enjoyed, this could be a sign that Seasonal Affective Disorder is becoming worse.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can disrupt daily routines. Talk to your loved one about the things they do every day, such as responsibilities and tasks. How are they managing these things? Do they have less energy than before? Are they sleeping well, or have they been experiencing bouts of insomnia? Are they having trouble concentrating?
A strong indication of Seasonal Affective Disorder is if you notice that these symptoms occur, especially in the fall or winter. People with this condition typically experience recurring symptoms during this time of the year.
Headaches and body aches are very common symptoms of SAD. While these symptoms may have other causes, they are very often linked to SAD.
Another sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder is craving carbohydrates, sugary and starch foods, and overeating. This is often a major indication that SAD is affecting your loved one. These appetite changes can lead to overeating and weight gain.
Show your loved one that you care and that you are willing to listen to them. Offer emotional support and reassure them that they are not alone. Let them feel that they are understood and that you are eager to hear what they need to talk about. Expressing their thoughts and feelings will help them immensely.
Encourage them to seek professional help. SAD is a recognized mental disorder. A therapist can properly diagnose Seasonal Affective Disorder and recommend treatment. Tell them that you will help them find a healthcare professional. Offer to go with them to their appointments. These caring acts will be a great support to your loved one.
A popular treatment for SAD is light therapy. A lightbox simulates natural sunlight and can be very effective for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Explore the options available online. Go through product reviews and tell them about your findings.
When symptoms are severe, there is help available through medicine. A psychiatrist can prescribe drugs to help combat the symptoms of SAD. However, medication won’t work if it is not taken or taken properly. Make sure that your loved one follows their treatment plan as prescribed.
Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Make sure your friend or family member is keeping up with their self-care. Make sure they are getting regular exercise, getting outside for sunlight exposure, and eating right. Talk about any stress that they may be experiencing and help them find ways to manage any anxiety.
Severe cases of SAD can lead to thoughts of suicide or self-harm. If you notice that your loved one is experiencing these types of thoughts, seek immediate professional help or contact a crisis helpline.
Remember that when you are offering your support to someone with seasonal depression, it is vital to be patient, understanding, and non-judgmental. Offer your assistance, but also respect their autonomy in making decisions about their treatment. Encouragement and empathy can go a long way in helping your family and friends manage Seasonal Affective Disorder effectively.
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Linda Guerrera has been the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You since 2022. A recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award for Outstanding Work in Radio, she spent over ...
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