Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects millions of people annually when the seasons change. Most people experience this condition at some point during the Autumn season and it can continue throughout the winter and into the beginning of Spring.
Many people with SAD describe their condition as feeling “moody.” It can feel like it takes away your energy, stops your motivation, and can cause several other symptoms. Some of the symptoms can be quite serious.
But SAD doesn’t always strike in the Autumn. It can happen in the Spring and Summer as well. If your symptoms do not improve or seem more intense than in previous years, however, it could be a health condition that is more serious than SAD.
Conditions that Mimic SAD
There are several conditions that can mimic what it feels like when you experience SAD, but with a greater intensity. If you feel different this year than in previous years, then you may wish to talk to your doctor about these potential alternatives.
- Chronic Insomnia. If you are struggling to get to sleep every night for more than a month, then you may be dealing with this condition. The symptoms are like what SAD causes and can be triggered by several different underlying factors.
- Bipolar Disorder. This is a brain disorder that causes mood shifts like SAD but on a more extreme scale. Shifts in mood, activitylevels, and energy can make it difficult to complete tasks of daily living. There are 4 basic types of bipolar disorder as well, which can make it difficult to distinguish from SAD sometimes in mild cases.
- Major Depression. This condition occurs when there are at least two weeks of low mood present in virtually all situations. Someone with this condition would not be responsive to light therapy and may experience pain without a clear cause. Major depression can also cause false beliefs and hallucinations.
Finding help for a mental disorder can be an intimidating process. Depending on your system of local healthcare and any insurance you hold, it can also be a costly process that some may wish to avoid. It is why 2 out of 3 people don’t receive the right amount of help, whether they are dealing with SAD or something more serious.
Mental health issues do not generally go away on their own. That’s why there are several organizations that can help you find the help you need. Use these resources if you feel like you could use a helping hand.
Mental Health America: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/types-mental-health-treatments
National Alliance on Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment
You can also access emergency help lines whenever you feel like your SAD or a more serious condition is spiraling out of control.
US Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 784-2433
Covenant House: 1 (800) 999-9999
NDMDA Depression Hotline/Support Group: 1 (800) 826-3632
Teens and Adolescent Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 621-4000
SAD can strike at any season and can occur even if it has never been experienced before. It may also be something more serious. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, be sure to speak with your doctor right away to get the help that you need.