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What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

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seasonal affective disorder

Did you know that the seasons have a big impact on your overall mood? With that said, they affect some people more than others. Because of that, they suffer from a problem that doctors refer to as seasonal affective disorder. This disorder affects more than 3 million people every single year.

About Seasonal Affective Disorder

At its core, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression. It typically affects people during the fall and winter. However, some people experience SAD during the spring and summer.

Like other types of depression, SAD isn't a condition that you should take lightly. It causes a number of symptoms, including:

  • Hopelessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of energy

Changes in behavior can lead to other problems. For instance, people with SAD commonly have trouble in their relationships. In some cases, the symptoms of SAD are so bad that they cause poor school or work performance.

What Triggers SAD?

With a basic understanding of what is seasonal affective disorder, you should know its triggers. Obviously, the changing of seasons is a major one, but why?

Unfortunately, scientists haven't made much progress in uncovering the specific factors that cause SAD. With that said, they know that several factors likely trigger this depressive state.

For example, they believe that the reduction in sunlight during the fall and winter throws off your biological clock. Less exposure to sunlight triggers your body to produce less serotonin. The brain naturally produces this chemical to regulate mood. As a result, you feel less happy in general.

However, some people are more likely to feel the effects than others. For example, women are more likely to develop SAD than men. Also, the farther away that you live from the equator, the higher that your chances are of developing SAD. You have a greater risk if your family has a history of depression as well.

SAD and Addiction

It's common for people to treat SAD symptoms without professional help. The problem is that they abuse drugs such as alcohol. However, abusing drugs doesn't address the problem and leads them down the path of addiction.

If you develop addiction as the result of self-medication, you have to seek professional help. A rehab center that offers dual diagnosis treatment is the best option. During such a program, doctors and therapists treat both your addiction and SAD at the same time.

Let Us Help You With Addiction and Mood Disorders

The Clearing is proud to offer mood disorder treatment in Washington state. It allows us to help people just like you overcome conditions such as SAD. However, we can help you with your addiction problem as well. Some of the programs that we offer include:

Don't let SAD trigger your substance abuse problem. Learn more about the link between seasonal affective disorder and addiction. Reach out to us today at 425-275-8600 for more information about how we can help you.

Clearing Staff

This post was written by Clearing Staff

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