For those of us who work with individuals who tend to have mental health conditions or diagnoses, one of the issues that gets raised often at this time of year is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Essentially it is a condition where individuals experience levels of depression or anxiety due to the cold weather months. Obviously in some parts of our country like the Northeast it usually begins around the holidays which can coincide with other memories about holidays and exaggerate the problem.
I recently read a very helpful little article from the Health Living Siloam Springs Regional Hospital on SAD. Here is a quote from the article:
In the midst of football season and holiday gatherings, many people experience unexpected anxiety and depression caused by SAD. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 4 to 6 percent of people in the United States experience this condition, and an additional 10 to 20 percent of the American population has a mild form of SAD during the winter. The cause of SAD remains unknown, but the condition may be related to lack of vitamin D from sunlight.
Even I was surprised at how pervasive SAD can be in in our country. Even though I have spoken with individuals who experience this syndrome, I think it is good for all of us to be aware of the symptoms as we move deeper into winter and especially during the holidays.
If you want to learn more about the symptoms and recommendations about treatment, here is the link to the full article.
I think as you read the article you may be able to think of individuals who appear to have these types of symptoms. A good question may be, “When do you typically have these feelings or sensations?” If it is exclusively in colder months SAD may be something to consider in getting help to them.
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