Seasonal affective disorder is a clinical disorder that usually occurs during the fall season and around the onset of winter. Seasonal affect disorder is known to affect many people across the globe. Once referred to as the winter blues, which is in fact a milder form of seasonal affective disorder, medical research shows that SAD symptoms might develop over a period of time due to an imbalance of important brain chemicals like serotonin and melatonin. A trained and qualified medical practitioner can identify most symptoms only after a proper evaluation.
The top five symptoms of S.A.D. include:
1. Lethargy and unexplained fatigue:
One of the symptoms of seasonal affect disorder is an increased tendency to oversleep. People have a very tough time getting up from their beds even after a good night’s sleep. This problem develops over a prolonged period of time and results in increased lethargy and weight gain. Patients afflicted with this problem may also exhibit dramatic changes in appetite. This may cause overeating because of an increased craving for carbohydrates, especially starchy and sweet foods.
2. Unexplained depression and sadness:
Preexisting problems like depression and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) progressively worsen during the long and cold months of the winter season. Doctors say that unexplained depression could be due to the decreased availability of sunlight during the fall and winter seasons.
3. Irritability and anxiety:
"Winter worsening" is a condition that effects one in five people causing increased irritability and anxiety attacks during the progression of winter, especially in the North. Psychologists have noticed that some common symptoms of SAD include an overall feeling of unhappiness and boredom. Patients do not derive pleasure from activities they once enjoyed and tend to remain forlorn.
4. Disturbed sleep patterns:
This seasonal affective disorder symptom seems to become a lot more pronounced and unbearable to handle as winter sets in. It occurs in most patients and is among the most well-studied and researched symptoms associated with the disorder.
5. Social withdrawal and feelings of social rejection:
This is a common symptom of seasonal affective disorder. Extreme cases of seasonal affective disorder can also result in more serious psychological problems and disorders of the mind that include, but are not limited to, extreme feelings of depression and pessimism. Patients are also known to have constant feelings of hopelessness as an indirect consequence of seasonal affective disorder.
These symptoms have been confirmed by renowned medical organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the (NIMH) National Institute of Mental Health.
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