Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during certain seasons, usually the autumn and winter months. It is more common in people who live in regions with long, dark winters, and is more likely to affect women, people who are younger and people who have a family history of SAD or other types of depression.
However, anyone can develop SAD, regardless of their age, gender or geographic location. Some people may be more prone to SAD due to certain risk factors, such as a history of depression, a family history of mental health disorders, or a personal history of trauma or stress.
Certain factors may increase the risk of developing SAD, including:
- Gender: SAD is more common in women than in men.
- Age: SAD is more common in younger people, particularly those in their 20s and 30s.
- Family history: If you have a family member with SAD, you may be more likely to develop the condition yourself.
- Geography: SAD is more common in people who live at higher latitudes, where there are longer periods of darkness in the winter.
- Previous history of depression: People with a history of depression or other mood disorders may be at increased risk of developing SAD.
- Personal history of SAD: If you have experienced SAD in the past, you are more likely to experience it again in the future.
It’s important to note that these are only risk factors, and it is not guaranteed that you will develop SAD if you have one or more of them.
How do I know if my son has SAD?
There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate your son is experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Some common symptoms of SAD include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Difficulty sleeping or changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite, such as overeating or losing weight
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Fatigue or low energy
- Difficulty with social interactions
If your son is experiencing several of these symptoms and they are causing significant distress or impairment in his daily life, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.
An example of how counselling can help with managing SAD
Jane is a 45-year-old woman who every year around this time, starts to feel down and has difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. She has lost interest in activities she used to enjoy and has been sleeping more than usual. She has also been snacking more and has gained weight. Her co-workers have noticed that she seems quieter and more distant lately.
Jane decides that she needs some help from a counsellor. At her first session, Jane discusses her symptoms with the counsellor and how they have been affecting her daily life. The counsellor asks Jane about her family history and any past experiences with depression. The counsellor also asks about Jane’s daily routines and helps her identify any patterns or triggers for her symptoms.
Through counselling, Jane learns about the link between sunlight and mood and the importance of maintaining a regular sleep schedule. She and the counsellor work together to develop strategies to manage her symptoms, such as taking walks outside in the daylight, using a light therapy box, and setting a consistent bedtime.
As Jane implements these strategies and continues to work with her counsellor, she begins to feel more energized and engaged in her daily life. She starts to enjoy activities again and notices that her mood has improved.
This is just one example of how counselling can be helpful for someone with SAD. Every person’s experience with SAD and the counselling process will be unique and tailored to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances.