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Does Seasonal Affective Disorder Affect You?

December 18, 2014

Invisible disabilities are becoming a hot topic, and rightly so. In 2003 it was estimated that around 5 percent of Canadians were affected by at least 1 of a group of 3 invisible disabilities. While more research is needed, invisible disabilities remain a relevant subject of discussion.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a true invisible disability. It affects about 2 percent of Canadians, according to the UBC Hospital Mood Disorder Clinic (Vancouver).

Seasonal affective disorder is “a form of depression that occurs during the darker, colder months of the year”.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?

  • Oversleeping
  • “Loss of interest in activities”
  • Fatigue
  • “Social withdrawal”
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain
  • Overeating
  • “Not being able to get out of bed”
  • Difficulty concentrating in the afternoon
  • Unhappiness
  • “Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement”

What causes seasonal affective disorder?

Residing in a location that tends to have longer winter nights can cause a person to develop seasonal affective disorder.  A person’s body temperature, genes, and hormones also have an effect on the development of SAD.

Women seem to be more apt to develop seasonal affective disorder than their male counterparts.

Is there help for seasonal affective disorder?

Yes! The amount of light a person is exposed to has a lot to do with whether or not he or she will develop seasonal affective disorder. That’s why light therapy can be really helpful in dealing with seasonal affective disorder. Light Therapy involves the use of a particular type of lamp that has florescent lights. Before beginning this therapy, be sure to discuss light therapy with your doctor.

Beyond light therapy, there are other things that can be done to manage the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Quick Tips for lessening the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder:

  • Stay social – This can be especially difficult when dealing with any kind of depression, but it is important to regularly engage in social activities. Even taking a trip to the grocery store may help!
  • Take walks outdoors – Take advantage of sunny days, even if they are cold. Bundle up and go for a brisk walk. Try to be in the natural sunlight as much as possible, but remember to stay safe by using sunscreen.
  • Exercise – This is typically quite helpful for symptoms of depression.

The good news is that seasonal affective disorder usually gets better as the winter months wear off. The better news is, light therapy, exercise, and exposure to sunshine may cause your seasonal affective disorder symptoms to go away quicker.

Have you ever considered that “the winter blues” may actually be a medical condition? If you feel you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder, consider visiting your physician.

Do you experience seasonal affective disorder? If so, tell us about your experience by leaving a comment in the “Reply” section below. We want to know what helps you feel better.


7 Comments. Leave new

Every winter I suffer this but this year more than others. My husband of 36 years has decided he doesn’t want me anymore and I live alone. Luckily I have good windows in the front of my house which stays fairly bright on a good day. I cannot go for a walk but have gone on my scooter a few times but it is so cold. I try to get out for a drive in my car once in awhile which helps some. I am also taking Vitamin D drops. I just hate winter and try to hang on until spring

I am a young 81 yr old woman, usually very active, happy and moving, until about when the time changes and it gets dark so early. I have often wondered if I suffered from the lack of daylight. When I was younger I used to go to a tanning salon just for the light, it made me feel better. Usually I get depressed, sleep too much and feel lonely all winter, even when my husband was alive. I used to call it the winter blues. After reading your article I realized this sounds so much like me and I cannot control it, it is a terrible lost feeling, like I am in a hole and don’t care……

For me the summer months or more so the time of year when the weather is warm and especially when hot because I am a right leg above knee amputee the skin where my prosthesis connects to my body becomes extremely raw and I will experience stinging pain that is at times so unbearable I am not able to wear my prosthesis at all and am forced to either walk using crutches or stay at home and keep my prosthesis off so that it doesn’t press against the cut / raw skin.

December 29, 2014 6:19 pm


Erline Conejos
January 3, 2015 11:59 am

It is not who has Seasonal Affective Disorder. Upon reading it, it is my husband who has this kind of disability. His name is Michael Planer.

Since I marry him, He works on a shift rotation of 13 hrs per day 3 days only in a week. So, the rest of the days every week he spent only in bed unless if he gets a call from work.

He only gets up if he goes to the washroom or if he goes to his doctor’s appt.

He doesn’t even go out for a walk or run. No exercise at all. He always say, on the summer he will start running but 6 summers had passed by he never did it.

Winter or summer, if there’s no work he will spend time on sleeping during the day. At night time he couldn’t sleep.

He is dependent on any pills like benadryl to put him to sleep.

He had I think about 10 years being drug dependent that 4 times he tried to withdraw it, but he has to go back because he gets more sicker that he almost died of the abrupt withrawal.

Having been a drug dependent gave us more financial troubled because of the drugs that he maintained.

But, now that he’s done with that drùgs a month a ago with help of a doctor he is still lying and sleeping all day if he is not working.

By the way, my husband is suffering of colitis since he was 25 years old. He’s now turning 48. He had an operation when he was 25. His large intestine is already gone. So, the food he will take goes to the pouch from his small intestine. So, he eats and go..That is his routine.

I wondered if this is the cause of him having SAD.

I believe I may suffer from this disorder in the winter months my heath takes turns for the worse. I am active but there’s no doubt that I wither away somewhat and my eating and thinkig habits change. Most people gain weight when not active, myself it is the opposite even though I take several types of vitamins and a high protein diet I still wither away and if you can’t move very much do to your disabilities then what can a person do?. I’ve never heard of this before but now thanks to the posts and reading into it more! it all makes sense to me now. Thanks for the advice and heads up now I see, I thought It was just part of my daily pain, heath issue. Thanks again TNBA.

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