OCHD OFFERS TIPS TO HELP COPE WITH SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER.
(Toms River -) The holidays are long gone, the pandemic is still hanging around and we recently dealt with the first blizzard of 2022. However, spring is still a long way in front of us and for many people it’s the heart of the winter blues season.
“For many people, the winter months can be depressing and can lead to symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder – or SAD. Mix in the on-going pandemic and it can be challenging to overcome,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “Symptoms of SAD can range from changes in appetite, a lack of energy and craving more sleep, social withdrawal and increased irritability.”
“SAD is a recurrent depression that usually happens for folks in the winter months. It correlates with the way that our body experiences changes in our circadian rhythm related to changes in exposure to daylight. Sunlight controls the levels of molecules that help maintain normal serotonin levels, but in people with SAD, this regulation does not function properly, resulting in decreased serotonin levels in the winter leading to sleep, mood and behavior changes.”*
The following tips are designed for SAD and winter mental health:
“In individuals that experience anxiety or depression, the isolation of the pandemic can trigger new emotions or additional severe symptoms,” Regenye added. “People who have never struggled with mental health issues may find themselves experiencing much more intense mood symptoms. However, recent research has shown many people affected by SAD are optimistic that their condition won’t be as bad this winter of the pandemic since there are more people going through the same struggles.”
If you think you may be suffering from SAD, talk to your health care provider or a mental health specialist about your concerns.
*National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Learn more on mental health by visiting www.ochd.org. Visit the Ocean County Health or follow us on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/OCHD.org. You also can download the new free mobile app from the Google Play/Android & Apple APP store: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a50608754
*University of North Carolina and Well Being