"The most commonly reported SAD symptoms include significant fatigue, pervasively sad mood, loss of interest in activities, sleeping more than usual, craving and eating more starches and sweets, gaining at least 5 percent of body weight and difficulty concentrating. Most people experience SAD symptoms to a certain extent, especially at higher latitudes. These individuals who do not meet diagnostic criteria for depression during the fall/winter months, but who experience mild to moderate symptoms during fall or winter, are considered to have a milder form of this disorder also known as subsyndromal SAD or the 'winter blues.'” -APA.org
So seasonal affective disorder, caused by less available sunlight (days are shorter & there is greater cloud cover), has many, if not most or all, of the symptoms of depression. But with SAD, the symptoms occur in fall and winter and go away when full sunlight returns.
There are variations in when people begin to experience symptoms. For those with seasonal affective disorder, symptoms can begin as early as August (like they did for me) and for those who have a milder version like winter blues, symptoms may not begin not until January.
Now, that you've read both yesterday's winter blues post & today's post about seasonal affective disorder, do you recognize your own winter experience in any of the descriptions presented?
I believe I have been at both ends of this spectrum, experiencing both winter blues and seasonal affective disorder. One thing that helped me is staying connected to people who understood what was happening. And way back in the late 80s, it was a relief just to know what was going on.
Here at this website, I offer my own experience & suggestions for everything that has been helpful for me. But I want to encourage anyone who has difficulty with winter to get clear about where you fall on the continuum and connect with those who know the differences.
Wishing you warmth, peace & love all winter long! Stay tuned as we begin to talk about how hygge can help.