Well, it’s fall about to be winter.  The season of cold, gloomy, darkness.  For many that doesn’t stand for the weather only, it stands for their outlook on life.  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form depression that is related to the change of seasons.  Most persons with SAD show signs or symptoms in the fall and it lasts through the winter.  There are some people who experiences SAD in the spring and summer seasons but that happens less often.

It is very important to not brush off feelings as “the winter blues” or as I always say “being in a funk”. You do not have to try to push through it.  Having SAD is not something to be ashamed of or something you have get over on your own.

According to the Mayo Clinic SAD is a subtype of major depression so the symptoms may be the same.  Some of which are listed below:

  • Feeling depressed some of or most of the day
  • Feeling worthless
  • Fatigued/low energy
  • Not enjoy your normal activities
  • Increase/decrease in appetite
  • Having issues concentrating
  • Problems sleeping
  • Thoughts of suicide and/or death

Some symptoms that are related to Fall/Winter SAD:

  • Problems getting along with others/irritability
  • Tiredness/low energy
  • Oversleeping
  • Limbs feel heavy
  • More sensitive in feelings (especially rejection)
  • Appetite changes (especially craving carbs)
  • Weight changes

Some causes of SAD include less sunlight which affects your internal clock, lowers your levels of serotonin levels which could trigger depression, and lowers your levels of melatonin which affects your sleep patterns.

If you are having multiple symptoms for several days contact your doctor.    Some doctors will prescribe medications, counselor, or even light therapy.  Some things you can do on your own to help with SAD make your environment brighter/sunnier, go outdoors, exercise, be social.  It is also very important to make sure you take care of yourself: eat well, get enough sleep, and manage your stress.  There is no way to prevent SAD or any other mood disorder but you can be proactive on the treatment of your choice once you notice symptoms.

Other helpful articles

Seasonal Depression – Mental Health America

Understanding SAD – WebMD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temperatures are dropping as winter creeps closer so I thought a timely topic would be home heating safety. The rising cost of gas has left many people using other methods of heating their homes.

Fireplaces, wood burning stoves, gas or electric space-heaters are among the most popular alternatives to furnace heating. Each of these can pose major fire-hazard risks. FEMA has an online fire safety guide, please take a moment to read over it.

In addition to safe heating, another winter concern is the inability to pay utility bills. In Kansas, there is a Cold Weather Rule that is in effect from Nov. 1st – March 31st of each year. This is to ensure that you do not have to face the dangers of a heatless winter. Please visit the Kansas Corporation Commission Website for more information.