Life has its ups and downs, and it’s not uncommon to feel sad or “down” for various reasons. However, when you feel low for more than a week or two, there may be something bigger going on – something that is affecting you on a deep, chemical level. If it seems as though your “down” times correspond to the time of the year, you may be struggling with something called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a common form of depression that is specific to the seasons, most commonly fall and winter. SAD is similar to other types of clinical depression. Common symptoms include a lack of concentration and energy, decreased or increased appetite, and a lack of interest in hobbies that you previously enjoyed.
SAD is a form of depression, and living with seasonal affective disorder in Long Island can be a challenge, especially since the winters can feel especially long and cold. But SAD also responds well to treatment. It is simply important to seek out that help.
Causes and Risk Factors for SAD
While a specific cause for SAD is unknown, there are certain causes and risk factors that can increase your chances of struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder in Long Island. SAD is specifically linked to exposure to light. It’s not entirely clear why this occurs, but somehow the mind becomes more sad or depressed when living in significant darkness, which is why it affects people most often during winter. There are also several risk factors for SAD. These include:
- Location – SAD is more statistically significant for people that live far south or north of the equator. These areas have less sunlight during fall and winter and longer days during the summer. However, this type of depression can affect people all over the world.
- Age – Individuals who are in their early twenties are more susceptible to SAD and the risk decreases with age.
- Gender – Women are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- Family History – Individuals with a family history of SAD or depression are at greater risk of having SAD at some point in their lives.
- Comorbid Conditions – Individuals with other mental health concerns such as bipolar or clinical depression are greater risk of SAD. Symptoms tend to be greater when an individual has a comorbid condition.
Mental Health America estimates that half a million people every winter struggle with SAD, with the majority of this number going undiagnosed.
Dr. Marc Shulman: Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment in Long Island
There are steps that can be taken to improve your mood and motivation throughout the year. Dr. Marc Shulman is a Long Island psychologist with extensive experience supporting those with all types of depression symptoms, and can help you with your SAD experience. If you are concerned that you might be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, call Dr. Shulman today at (516) 732-0273 to schedule an appointment.