Winter may be colder, darker, and more challenging for some people. Too frequently, this dampens emotions, and spring and summer are anxiously anticipated. However, if you discover that you only feel down in the winter and become your typical cheerful self in the spring and summer, you may have the seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
While it's normal to feel less enthused and motivated in gloomy, rainy, and cloudy weather, the seasonal affective disorder is a depression that happens especially among seniors throughout these times.
What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not known to have a specific cause. It is thought to be caused by fewer daylight hours throughout the winter, which is typical in more northern regions that are further from the equator. Shorter days and dark and dreary conditions with persistent snow and rain are among the things that may have an impact on the body's inherent biorhythm (also called the circadian rhythm).
Serotonin levels in the body are also impacted by these changes. Our moods are mostly controlled by the brain hormone serotonin. The brain produces lower levels of serotonin during winter or fall. When serotonin is insufficient, we may experience symptoms of depression.
Melatonin, a different brain hormone, is another element that could contribute to SAD. It is a significant sleep regulator. Typically, melatonin secretion rises when darkness falls, which causes drowsiness. A hormonal imbalance during winter may have some minor effects on mood and sleep habits.
So, What Are The Signs Of SAD?
If you are a senior or living with one, the following are the top signs of SAD you should look out for:
1. Increased appetite and weight gain
2. Feeling sluggish, slow, and/or "heavy."
4. Less energy generally, especially in the afternoon
5. Constantly feeling tearful or unhappy
6. Increased levels of sleepiness
7. Elevated desire to consume carbohydrates such as baked items, pasta, and bread
8. Debilitating feelings of guilt
9. Difficulty concentrating
10. Loss of interest in social engagement and regular activities
11. Feeling worthless and hopeless
So, What Can You Do About SAD?
If you notice that you or your loved one is exhibiting these signs, you may need to proactively take some action to lessen the symptoms. The two actions to take are:
Self-help can be effective and entails the following:
• Getting more sunlight
• Sitting next to the window to get as much light as possible
• Eating foods rich in vitamin D, including mushrooms, fortified milk, and eggs
• Engaging in fun activities, such as watching a movie or visiting Miami Beach
• Taking a trip to a warmer location
2. See a doctor
You or your senior loved one may also need to see a doctor who may prescribe or suggest the following:
• Light therapy, which entails buying a lightbox
• Antidepressant medications
• Hormonal, herbal, or nutritional supplements
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