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SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Did you know?

SAD can affect people in all seasons, not just fall and winter!


● A reduction in sunlight disrupts our internal clock and changes our melatonin levels as our sleep patterns are affected

● Serotonin levels drop as well due to reduced sunlight

Ways of managing SAD:

● Light therapy/Phototherapy

○ Use a special light box to mimic natural light

● Psychotherapy and Medication

○ Cognitive behavioural therapy can help change thought patterns and behaviours; antidepressants can also help manage your mood

● Lifestyle

○ Make your environment sunnier/brighter

○ Go outside during the day and take a walk


● General signs:

○ Losing interest in activities usually enjoyed and social withdrawal

○ Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty or even frequent thoughts of death/suicide

● Fall and winter SAD:

○ Oversleeping, low energy, appetite changes (greater cravings for carbohydrates) and weight gain

● Spring and summer SAD:

○ Trouble sleeping (insomnia), agitation and anxiety, poor appetite and weight loss

Dementia and SAD:

● 40% of seniors with dementia/Alzheimer’s suffer from depression (including SAD) which is twice the rate of the general population, they are at greater risk of developing SAD

● Symptoms of SAD specific to people with Alzheimer’s: a “heavy” feeling in their limbs, increased irritability, and lack of personal care


Want to learn more about the causes of seasonal affectiveness disorder?

Want to learn more about seasonal affective disorder in those with alzheimers and dementia?

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