What causes me to be SAD?

Let the countdown begin!!! We are just weeks away from the first official day of spring. Saturday, March 20, 2011 marks the equinox that will occur to signal the change of season. It is on this date that we will leave the cold, drab winter season behind and jump into the warm, fun months of spring.

If you’re anything like me, your mood is partial to your surroundings. Cold skies and sunless days aide at draining not only your motivation but cheerful demeanor and spunky attitude. This type of condition described is just one of the common ways Seasonal Affective Disorder, coincidentally referred to as SAD, can affect you or those around you.

SAD is defined as a type of depression that occurs consistently around the same time from year to year. Symptoms related to Seasonal Affective Disorder include depression, weight gain, social disinterest, anxiety, fatigue, and hopelessness to name a few. Most commonly SAD affects its population during the fall to winter season. Although very rare it is possible to be affected during the spring and summer months or to experience reverse symptoms as a result.

The scientific explanation of this condition involves the suns natural effect on melatonin and serotonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone in your body released by the brain into the blood stream that is responsible for sleep and mood patterns. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter stored in blood platelets, metabolized by the liver, and excreted by the kidneys. Serotonin is associated with mood, sleep regulation, cognition, memory, appetite, and even healing. Both melatonin and serotonin levels are affected by sunlight. This dependence on levels of light and darkness support the seasonal nature of the functions both substances perform.

Individuals predisposed to this disorder include females and those with SAD involved in their family medical history. If it is a possibility that you could be a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder it is advised that you seek medical advice from your health care provider (i.e. athletic trainer, nurse, etc.). Having an occasional bad day is normal, but when the feeling begins to be excessive and the symptoms are uncontrollable SAD is a another possible culprit. SAD in most cases is very easily managed.

With that said…we are less than one month away from sunny days and lighter layers. Take advantage of this week’s forecast, the next three days are predicted to reach the 50 and 60 range. This could be the pick-me-up your body and mind has been waiting for…






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