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December is Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness Month

During the month of December, awareness is being built around seasonal affective disorder. Also referred to as SAD or seasonal depression, there treatment is available for this disorder and hope can be found for the 16 million Americans struggling through it every year.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression related to the changing of seasons. Most sufferers live far from the equator where daylight becomes scarce in the winter months. Linked to a biochemical imbalance occurring in the brain, SAD can cause bouts of fatigue, depression, and social withdrawal.

What are the symptoms?

Seasonal affective disorder is more than just the “winter blues.” People with seasonal affective disorder experience mood changes and symptoms similar to depression. These changes usually occur during the fall and winter months, and they can be distressing and interfere with day-to-day life.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Is help available?

Judgment-free support is available for anyone experiencing seasonal affective disorder or other mental health issues. The first step is always the hardest, but Valley Oaks Health will be with you through this journey.

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