SAD in the Fall

When your mental health, such as anxiety or depression, starts to change when the seasons change, it is not a coincidence. It can actually be about the changes in your life, both physical and mental, that bring this on. When you experience worsened depression that seems to be seasonal, such as during the fall, it is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While this is more common in the colder months, some people also experience it in the summer or spring.

Not only can it cause depression during the fall, but anxiety as well. Here are some things to know about getting SAD in the fall season.

Common Signs of Seasonal Anxiety or Depression

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and seasonal anxiety have very similar symptoms. This includes a combination of physical and emotional changes that may come on suddenly, or start gradually appearing near the end of summer and beginning of fall. Some signs and symptoms to look out for include:

a. Being lethargic and having low energy

b. Losing interest in your favorite activities

c. Racing heartbeat

d. Becoming restless and unable to focus

e. Lack of concentration

f. Issues with sleeping too much or too little

g. Losing your appetite

h. Becoming irritable and moody

i. Agitation

j. Having an overwhelming sense of dread

k. Obsessing over small things

What Can Cause it?

While there is no single cause of seasonal depression and anxiety, experts believe there are a few different possibilities. With SAD, it is most likely associated with the reduced sunlight that you experience when the weather changes in the fall. With less exposure to the sunlight, it can affect your circadian rhythms and affect both the melatonin and serotonin in your brain.

With fall anxiety, it is likely from a similar problem, though anxiety can also be from the change in your routine, changes in the fall you weren’t prepared for, and worry for your children when they start school. It is a complex condition with many variables.

Treatments Available

When you are diagnosed with seasonal depression, it is important that you get proper treatment from your doctor or mental health professional. Depression from SAD is just as serious as any other type of depression.

If you are experiencing autumn anxiety, you can start with home treatments, though you should also see a therapist if it is lowering your quality of time.

Some treatment options include:

a. Breathing exercises

b. Changing your daily routine

c. Reducing caffeine intake

d. Using a light therapy box

e. Taking a vitamin D supplement

As you can see, there is a wide range of symptoms you might experience from SAD, which can often be the same as anxiety during the fall.

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