What is Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder brought about the natural changes in seasons, usually beginning and ending around the same time every year. Most people suffering from SAD experience their symptoms in the fall, continuing throughout the winter, but others may experience the onset of their symptoms in the spring or summer.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is estimated to affect around 10 million Americans, so it is important to remember that experiencing a bout of the “winter blues” is not something you simply have to tough out by yourself. There are millions of other people like you, and many of them are able to find relief through treatment or lifestyle changes.
What are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Once again, the more common form of SAD appears during late full or early winter, usually subsiding by spring or summer. The less common form features the opposite pattern, with symptoms that begin in the spring or summer but generally go away by the fall or winter. In both cases, symptoms tend to start mild but get more severe as the season goes on.
General signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
Depression or feelings of sadness
Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
Weight or appetite changes
The 2 Main Types of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Fall/Winter SAD Like the name suggests, this features the onset of depression during fall or winter. Sometimes referred to as Winter Depression. Symptoms may include:
Appetite changes (for instance, cravings for carbohydrates)
Spring/Summer SAD Also referred to as Summer Depression, symptoms come up during the spring and summer. Symptoms may include:
Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
Episodes of violent behavior
What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Exactly what causes Seasonal Affective Disorder is still not entirely known. Researchers do think there are some factors that play into it, however, including:
Circadian Rhythm During the fall and winter, less sunlight hits the human body. This may disrupt the body’s internal clock and may lead to the onset of the Winter subtype of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Melatonin Levels Changes in season can disrupt the body’s balance of melatonin, which is important for sleep patterns and mood, which can further contribute to feelings of depression.
Serotonin Levels A neurotransmitter, serotonin plays an important role in mood regulation. A drop in serotonin can be caused by reduced sunlight and contribute to depression.
What are the risk factors?
SAD is four times more prevalent in women than in men.
SAD is found to be more frequent in people who live far away from the equator. For instance, only 1 percent of those who live in Florida have SAD, but 9 percent of those living in Alaska or New England suffer from SAD.
If you already suffer from depression or bipolar disorder, these disorders may only worsen if you develop SAD.
SAD is much more prevalent in young people, even being prevalent amongst children and teens.
A family history of SAD makes someone much more likely to develop SAD.
Are there any complications?
If left untreated, the symptoms of SAD can get worse and lead to other problems, including:
Problems at school or work
Anxiety, panic, or eating disorders
Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
What new treatment options are available?
Ketamine Infusions – IV Ketamine Infusions are an innovative new treatment option for those suffering from the symptoms of depression. Ketamine Infusion therapy is becoming a reliable and exciting new form of treatment for those whose depression has been treatment-resistant.
Are there any lifestyle changes I can make?
Lifestyle changes aren’t a replacement for a treatment plan from a healthcare professional, but in addition to a treatment plan, they can help you find relief. Some changes you can make include:
Get outside more. Sunlight, especially within the first two hours of waking up, can be very beneficial to those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Bring more sunlight into your environment. Open blinds in your home, add skylights, or purchase a lightbox.
Get regular exercise. Exercise and physical activity can help reduce stress and improve self-confidence.
How can IV Ketamine Infusion help treat Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Ketamine was first approved by the FDA as an anesthetic, but has been used as a depression treatment since 2006. Infused at a low dose from an IV into the bloodstream, Ketamine has been shown to improve depression in 75-80% of patients. Spravato, an antidepressant nasal spray based on Ketamine, has also recently been approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant depression. If you or a loved one is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and has questions about Ketamine treatment, we invite you to call us and schedule a free phone consultation to decide if Ketamine infusion therapy is right for you.