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Seasonal Affective Disorder: How the change in seasons can impact a persons mood and mental health

The seasons have changed and for some people their moods may have also.

May is Mental Health Awareness month and Season Affective Disorder (SAD) can impact a persons mental health in different ways during different seasons.

According to the MayoClinic online, SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. For most people symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, however Spring and Summer time can also cause a change in your mood as well.

“When the day is shorter and exposure to sun is less, people with SAD tend to get depressed so they tend to sleep more and eat more,” explained Dr. Moataz Ragheb, a Professor of Psychiatry at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso.

For people with bipolar disorder, the symptoms they experience in the Spring and Summer time can sometimes be completely different from what they experience in the Winter and Fall time.

Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include insomnia, poor appetite, weight loss and anxiety or agitation.

“This is where they tend to switch up. Their mood becomes elevated, their need for sleep becomes much less, activity level becomes a lot more intense. More important is that they can get into risky behavior. The simplest of which is extremely extravagant spending,” said Dr. Ragheb

Light therapy is one method doctors use to treat patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“Bright light is really really bright lamps we can use to keep them to stay up longer or shorter so we can adjust their circadian rhythm back to a timing system that fits to what they need,” said Dr. Ragheb.

But, there are other ways a person can treat the disorder.

“There are certain excercises to do with mindfulness and meditation that can help someone. Most of the time they will need to consult a doctor otherwise it can create a problem,” said Dr. Ragheb.

For more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder CLICK HERE.

For more information on resources for mental health issues in El Paso, CLICK HERE

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