Mental Health

Seasonal Affective Disorder

November 2, 2019
Picture of a pumpkin

Photo credit: Cayla1/Unsplash

 

I’ve heard many clients ask if seasonal affective disorder is a thing. So, to answer that question, I am writing this post.

Seasonal affective disorder is a mental disorder that affects many people.

Disclosure: Personally, I have been affected by this disorder. I experienced postpartum depression after the birth of my oldest daughter. She was born in October and the winter for me was brutal. I had so much fear of the early nights because my depressive symptoms worsened throughout the winter months. I eventually joined a group and attended group therapy to help me through the transition.

 

What is seasonal affective disorder?

The American Psychiatry Association (APA)  noted that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months. People experience mood changes and depressive symptoms when there is less sunlight. These symptoms tend to improve during the spring season. APA also noted that people can experience symptoms during the summer seasons as well.

 

seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months. Click To Tweet

Statistics

The APA provided statistics which states that approximately 5% of the US adult population experience SAD. Additionally, people may experience symptoms of SAD approximately 40% of the year. It is also important to note that symptoms of SAD affect more women than men.

 

Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feelings of sadness and melancholy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Change in mood and activities
  • Changes in energy

 

Treatment for SAD typically includes medication, therapy, and light therapy. Symptoms usually decrease with the change in seasons.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Black Women

Seasonal affective disorder can present with severe symptoms that can disrupt normal daily functions. It is important that you seek help if you notice that your symptoms present as more than just the “winter blues.”

I am especially encouraging Black women to seek professional help. Seasonal affective disorder affects more women than men, but there isn’t any clear statistics on how it affects women of color.

However, as Black women, we pride ourselves in our strength, but within our pride is a stubbornness and refusal to ask for help when we need it. Suffering in silence is not healthy, and it only serves to perpetuate stereotypes, stigmas, and myths. The reduction in sunlight affects all our moods’, thoughts, and behaviors, and we should take time to acknowledge this and get help if we need it.

Even if you only experience a slight drop energy and mood, take the time to acknowledge this change and do something to boost these areas in your lives. Your remedy can be as simple as:

  • Spending more time with family
  • Journaling more to practice emotion regulation
  • Lighting scented candles to enhance the atmosphere in your surroundings
  • Cooking more meals at home

 

Do whatever works for you to practice proper self-care for yourself. If you know someone who has or is experiencing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, take the time to share this blogpost with them.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Lydia November 11, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Good job on this post. Yeah, Seasonal Affective Disorder is noting to mess around with.

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