After setting your clock back this morning you might feel like winter is already here with its longer, darker days.
Believe it or not, that gloomy feeling you get every year when we set our clocks back could be a form of depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D, is a major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern. For many, it hits right around this time of year.
“What is interesting about S.A.D is while it matches many of the symptoms of major depressive disorder in that you have to feel down for at least two weeks and really not enjoy most of the activities you normally enjoy, you often crave carbohydrates and gain weight, you sleep too much and you’re extremely fatigued,” said Mimi Morris, a Psychiatric Nurse Practioner.
Morris also said your chances of developing SAD are much higher living here Montana, and it’s a disorder that can affect anyone.
For example, in places like Florida the prevalence is about 1 percent. places like Alaska it’s 9 percent. 4 times more common in women than men, and it happens in younger people.
To offset the symptoms of S.A.D, Morris suggests getting ahead of it while you can.
“Go outside and get some sunlight. You can try a timer in your room to turn a light on early if you’re oversleeping. They even make lamps now that are dawn simulating lamps that will create a little mini sunrise in your room. Eating balanced diet, getting enough sleep,” said Morris.
Morris also suggests eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and cutting back on screen time right before bed.
But perhaps you already have a healthy lifestyle and you still feel down sometimes it’s hard to know for sure if what you’re feeling is worth that visit to the doctor’s office.
And in the case that your Seasonal Affective Disorder spirals, Morris reminds you to reach out.
“In the event that you become severely depressed it’s so important to get help. You’re never alone,” said Morris.