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What is SAD?

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is also known as the winter blues.


However it is a lot more complex than that and perhaps the nickname waters down our perceptions of a very real and very serious disorder.

Why is SAD serious?

SAD is actually a type of depression. It is, however, not a year long fixture but comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Usually it is at it's worst during the winter months and at it's best during summer. Hence the nickname 'winter blues'. But it can be experienced during summertime.


The reason I feel calling it the winter blues is watering the subject down is because I feel it is just like calling post natal depression the baby blues. The misconception is that people suffering with SAD just feel a little low, or blue, during winter. But similar to the concept of just feeling a little sad, or blue, after having had a baby it is so much, much more serious than that.


SAD is type of depression, I repeat, a type of depression. It comes with the same episodes and seriousness as all other types of depression do and can affect your life in the same ways.


How do you treat SAD?

As SAD is type of dression it's treatment is very similar. You just might find you don't need, or can reduce, the interventions during the better months.


Main teatments include:

  • Talking therapies

  • Medication - antidepressants

  • Lifeswtyle changes

  • Self care

  • Light therapy


Why light therapy?

Light therapy is sometimes recommended due to the therory that is a lack of sunlight is the main cause of SAD, the NHS, however, doesn't provide this as it is all just a theory so you will have to sort your own out if you would like to try it. There is also some research to suggest that dawn therapy can be as effective, or even more, so than light therapy. So get yourself a light box or dawn simulator.


I think I might have SAD what do I do?

The first step is to go and see your GP. They will then make any neccassary referals and give treatment advice.


Self care and lifestyle changes are always a good place to start if you have a long wait to see your GP or you feel your symptoms are mild:

  • Find ways to manage stress levels

  • Get outside

  • Get as much natural sunlight as possible

  • Talk to someone

  • Exercise

  • Eat healthily

  • Get a good nights sleep

  • Keep a diary

  • Find ways to relax


Obviously if you are experiencing potentially dangerous intrusive thoughts seek help straight away.


Victoria xx


P.S.

Mind has a help line - 0300 123 3393, as do the Samaritans - 116 123. Call them...


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