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Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, affecting women more than men

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 5:21 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Anyone else feeling down lately? The pandemic isn’t helping, it’s invading nearly every aspect of our lives.

But as the days pass by and the seasons change, doctors are becoming increasingly worried about patients mental health.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, affects about 10 million Americans every year and starts to ramp up during the end of fall and into early winter.

On top of that, an additional 10 to 20 percent of people have mild symptoms.

If you’re feeling extra tired, moody, unmotivated and depressed, these are all signs of mild SAD. If you’re having trouble sleeping, or oversleeping, for important things like work or appointments, it may be time to contact your doctor.

If your appetite has drastically changed, whether you’ve gained weight or lost it, that could also be a sign. Of course if you’re feeling hopeless, guilty or suicidal these are all serious symptoms of the disorder and you need to call your doctor right away to be properly diagnosed.

A reminder for anyone struggling, this isn’t something to brush off. It may be more serious than just the winter blues. While there’s no specific cause for SAD, doctors have narrowed down three likely reasons and they’re directly related to less sunlight.

As we head into winter, less sun can mess with your body’s internal clock, leading to depression. It can also cause the serotonin levels in your brain to drop. That’s the chemical that affects your mood. And when the seasons change, it can also disrupt the balance of melatonin in your body, which can throw off your sleep schedule.

A study from Psychology Today found that women are four times more likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, compared to men.

The onset of symptoms typically occur between the ages of 18 and 30.

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