Saturn may be moving in to Virgo, which is probably good news for Leos, and we are all about to get a break when Venus stops retrograding and turns her lovely face of love in the right direction, but there’s something else coming up that affects us all, whatever your sign is: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects about 5% of adults severely, particularly women and young adults. Up to 25% of us are affected more mildly.
The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) says that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s a real illness, and sometimes the symptoms are severe. It’s worse in January and February, but sometimes starts as early as September.
The cause of SAD is believe to be melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin production increases in the dark, so in the winter, when the days are shorter and darker, production increases, causing what we experience as symptoms of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder is extremely rare for people who live within 30 degrees of the Equator, where daylight hours are long and extremely bright.
What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder? Well, a lot like depression – trouble sleeping, lethargy, overeating, sadness, social problems, anxiety, loss of libido, mood changes, and a weakened immune system. For complete description, go here:
What can you do to help? It’s light that suppresses the secretion of melatonin, so for lighter cases, get outside more, exercise outside, and arrange for more light at work and at home.
Phototherapy has been helpful in more severe cases. A light box can be used that emits very bright light through a filter.
If you think you might have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), check with your personal healthcare professional. Get as much information as you can, and be prepared.