Are you feeling the winter “blahs?”
Cabin fever closing in on you?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real concern. Our unusually cold winters could be triggering symptoms of a seasonal depression in our senior family members. We can help our seniors by being proactive and watching for SAD symptoms.
This depression, triggered by the seasons, tends to occur as days are at their shortest in the late fall and winter. A small number of people experience SAD in spring and summer. Experts believe SAD is related to the amount of sunlight during different times of the year Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs more often in women than men.
Typical symptoms of winter onset Seasonal Affective Disorder may include include the following:
• Change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet and starchy foods
• Weight gain
• Fatigue or drop in energy
• Tendency to oversleep
• Difficulty concentrating, irritability and anxiety
• Social withdrawal
• Loss if interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed
Interestingly, some of us suffer from summer onset Seasonal Affective Disorder and typical symptoms may include:
• Loss of appetite and weight loss
• Irritability and anxiety
• Increased sex drive
Sufferers of either type may also have symptoms of depression such as feelings of guilt or helplessness and physical problems such as headaches.
If feelings persist, the symptoms should not be brushed off as the winter blues. Talk to a doctor. Common treatments for SAD are medications and psychotherapy. Light therapy may be recommended for less severe cases. Typically, light therapy may involve a light box that a patient sits in front of for a specified length of team each day and light visors are recommended at times, as well.
Maintaining a healthy diet, remaining active and exploring new activities, and visiting a sunny climate are recommended for sufferers. If you are seeking resources for new winter activities in Fairfax County, visit Fairfax County Events.
Do you have a favorite wintertime activity that keeps you feeling engaged, active and energized? Please share your ideas with our readers below or on our Caregiver Forum.