Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs particular seasons. It is more common in winter, as we adjust to the change in seasons and feel lower in mood and energy.
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.
Listen to Sarah’s story and read Vicky’s story
Sarah explains how she developed SAD and what it’s like living with it day to day and Vicky talks about the misconceptions surrounding SAD:
What can I do to help myself?
There are lots of simple things you can do which might help boost your mood:
- Get natural sunlight – Getting outside in the natural sunlight as much as possible can help boost your mood. Even a short daily walk can help. If you find it hard to get out, try and make your home as bright as possible by opening the curtains and sitting near the window.
- Stay active – Regular activity, especially outdoors on a bright day, can help with symptoms of low mood and depression.
- Connect with others – Winter can make us feel more isolated, but there are lots of ways to keep in touch. From email and text message to a good old-fashioned post, try to find ways to reach out to friends and family.
Age UK’s Call in Time service offers anyone over 60 the opportunity to receive a weekly phone call from a like-minded volunteer. It’s a great way to make a new friend and enjoy regular conversation.
If you’re feeling down, lacking in energy, or have lost pleasure in the things you used to enjoy, talking can help. Speak to your GP about how you are feeling.
What is Alcohol Awareness and Mental Health Week?
Alcohol Awareness with mental health Week takes place Monday 16 to Sunday 22 November 2020.
About 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems every year. Alcohol is one of the increasing contributors and is seen by people as a coping mechanism for problems caused by anxiety, stress, depression or other mental health related problems.
However, this “self-medicating” is only temporarily solved and short-lived by alcohol. Depression is one of the most common forms of mental health and with alcohol problems either will trigger the other, so keeping a check on alcohol consumption might help stop trigger depression.
Long-term effects of self-medicating use of alcohol:
Continued use of alcohol and overuse will contribute to mood swings, loosing control over you moods, depression, self-esteem and increase to mental health problems, health and well-being, contribute to relationship break downs and financial problems.
What can you do to slow down and keep a check your consumption?
Look up how much is too much and how to keep a balance with calculators available through various website, such as Alcohol Change UK or the NHS OneYou website and download the app: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/drink-less/
Why not speak to your GP about any of the symptoms below and how or when you can get support to reduce alcohol consumption:
- seizures (fits)
- hand tremors (‘the shakes’)
- seeing things that are not actually real (visual hallucinations)
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
Look for support on the NHS website for local support:
Useful contacts for alcohol problems
- Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, you can call this free helpline in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a free self-help group. Its “12 step” programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups.
- Al-Anon Family Groups offers support and understanding to the families and friends of problem drinkers, whether they’re still drinking or not. Alateen is part of Al-Anon and can be attended by 12- to 17-year-olds who are affected by another person’s drinking, usually a parent.
- We Are With You is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.
- Adfam is a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol. Adfam operates an online message board and a database of local support groups.
- The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) provides a free, confidential telephone and email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others concerned about their welfare. Call 0800 358 3456 for the Nacoa helpline.
- SMART Recovery groups help people decide whether they have a problem, build up their motivation to change, and offer a set of proven tools and techniques to support recovery.
- MIND for information on addiction and dependency.