incredible-marketing Arrow

What Is SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Though the solstice changing the season to winter doesn’t officially pass until the 21st of December, winter is indeed upon us. Weather has already changed across the country and daylights savings has come and gone. Days have shorter sunny hours, where the sun is visible and not hidden behind wintery clouds. Nights are long, the weather is colder, and the earth generally has a feeling of slowing down.

Seasonal Affective Disorder comes with many symptoms which are a response to different parts of a changing season. Many people might struggle with symptoms of SAD without meeting the criteria for a full diagnosis, but the experience of struggling with SAD is still very much a challenge.

What Is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is somewhat of a phenomenon. Most commonly occurring during the winter months, people notice a significant change in their mood, their demeanor, their energy, and even their physical health. Feeling a radical change in how one feels within and out themselves due to a change in seasons isn’t exactly typical. Typically, people might lament and begrudge the changing season, but not be affected to the point where their productivity, their relationships, and their mental health overall suffer. SAD is a real mental health condition with real affects.

Why Does SAD Occur?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is about more than the changing of the seasons. Scientifically, there is an entire process taking place in the brain and the body. Melatonin is a brain chemical which helps the brain relax and signals the rest of the body that it is soon time for sleep. In the late afternoon, just before sunset, the brain knows to start producing melatonin. With the shorter daylight hours, melatonin produces earlier in the day causing more sleepiness and drowsiness. The lack of sunlight hours has another effect as well. Vitamin D, which we naturally derive from the sun, helps manage our thyroid, our hormone production, and much more. Feeling extra sleepy and extra lethargic is manageable every once in a while. However, when the feelings persist day in and day out for the entirety of a season, it can become overwhelming. Moreover, we experience somewhat of a trauma related to the anticipation of SAD making the winter season, or whatever season change which challenges us, all the more worrisome.

Does SAD Trigger Trauma?

SAD can potentially occur as a response to untreated trauma which occurred during the winter months. Or, if unrelated, SAD and the challenging energy which comes with it could be a potential trigger for other trauma. Living in trauma recovery means living in a proactive way which anticipates and meets all of our unique mental health needs. Should SAD come up for us, we can be prepared to cope to the best of our ability. We’ll talk about coping with SAD and Trauma in our next QA article.

If you or someone you know has struggled immensely with trauma, help is available. Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for trauma, addiction, and related mental health issues. 1-855-483-7800