In the long vigorous winter months, there is a blanket of dark clouds and a grey sky that lingers over the earth. The white crystals that cover the ground aren’t always so beautiful, slushy and cold, and slippery making people dread having to walk their dog or wait for the bus. The air is stinging fingers and ears from the frigid temperatures. The trees losing their colorful leaves, the crops withering away, and the animals hibernating are some things that winter affects our environment, but how does it affect us? Winter is the season that doesn’t just bring the forecast to a negative seventeen degrees, but it always brings people falling into a cold and brutal winter blue effect. This Winter blue is also called a seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder or also known as SAD is a “subtype of recurrent depression that involves a regular temporal pattern in the onset and remission of major depressive episodes at characteristic times of the year” (coping). To understand this disorder, it is important to define seasonal affective disorder and recognize its symptoms, how it affects children and adolescents, how it is diagnosed, and the treatment options.
The most often-seasonal affective disorder is documented more in the winter months than in any other season; although, the disorder can occur in the summer, fall, and spring seasons. Typically, the depression for a seasonal affective disorder just lasts for the rest of that season, not for the rest of the year. There are often some people that experience SAD in more than one season, like winter and summer but aren’t experiencing any symptoms in the fall and spring.
The symptoms to seasonal affective disorder make people feel like two different people in the summer and winter usually. In summer the sun is shimmering its warmth on people and making them feel livelier than in the winter months. Winter is typically for most people where the symptoms of SAD start to occur. The symptoms range from physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral.
Some physical symptoms that have been reported are having “very low energy, and having cravings of junk food, increased and decreased appetite also meaning gained or lost weight” (depression sourcebook). Muscles start to tense up causing pain and discomfort for the body also stomachaches, and headaches have been recorded. The feeling of walking through knee-high water and carrying weights is because the body has no energy, so everything is struggling during that particular season.
The emotional symptoms are usually depression and anxiety causing anxious moods and arability. Also, the feeling of not knowing how you feel, like you have no emotions at all. Feeling so lost, hopeless, and not worth anything. Having the constant thought like there is a storm cloud hovering over causing rain and thunder making tears roll down. Sadness is the deepest blue and having no interest in things that were previously liked. There is a decrease in sex drive and enjoyment altogether.
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