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Winter Wellness

0 8 months ago

Winter Wellness: What You Need To Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Many people across Canada experience winter blues and fatigue in the colder winter months. However, the reality of this phenomenon for about 15% of Canadians is much more serious and is known as seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.)1 Sometimes referred to as seasonal depression, this type of depression occurs annually during the same period of time, most commonly during the fall and winter months2.

Although the major symptom of seasonal affective disorder is a despairing mood that extends past two weeks and is apparent on most days, there are other symptoms that may present themselves, including weight and appetite changes or problems with sleep3. If you find yourself withdrawing from relationships, losing interest in things you typically enjoy, or even mental block or fogginess, these could be signs that you’ve been affected by S.A.D.2 If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it’s helpful to learn more about what seasonal affective disorder is, and steps you can take to boost your mood and energy levels.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Despite the fact that experts haven’t been able to confirm the cause of the disorder, it is thought that changes in light exposure contributes to S.A.D.2 Adjusting to a reduced quantity of sunlight may disturb your circadian rhythm, which dictates your internal clock and, as a result, creates a deficit in vitamin D. The change in vitamin D levels can affect neurotransmitter functions, which can alter serotonin, dopamine and melatonin levels – known for affecting our mood, energy and sleep quality3.

There seems to be a direct correlation between sunlight and S.A.D., meaning that the further you are geographically from the equator, the higher risk you are for developing seasonal affective disorder in adulthood4. Integrating positive habits into your routine to combat S.A.D. is beneficial for everyone regardless of age or lifestyle.

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