This time of year I see an influx of clients and many seem to be suffering from very similar symptoms, unbeknownst to them. I hear reports of behavioral changes such as low energy, oversleeping, overeating, weight gain, and social withdrawal. Many people describe an unpleasant prolonged mood state including anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, sadness, etc. Given the time of year and that these issues are out of the ordinary for these folks (or worsened), it is likely that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be the culprit. SAD can often be brushed off and not taken seriously, but it is a real diagnosis and naming it can lead to professional help and change in symptomology.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, risk factors that may make a person more prone to developing SAD include:
- Being female (The disorder is 4 times more common for women than men.)
- Living far from the equator (That’s us!)
- Family history of depression
- Having depression or bipolar disorder
- Younger age
If you are struggling and feeling stuck this winter, please reach out to your doctor and/or a mental health professional. We are here to help and have tools and strategies that can help you resolve issues, gain new skills, and move on to creating the rich, full, and meaningful life you deserve.