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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Don’t ignore your negative feelings by naming them as “winter blues”. This can be a serious concern if it is not treated at the right time.

Ananya who was in 9th grade was very good in studies. She was very punctual in doing her assignments and studies. She was always in the top 5 students in her class. She was full on her energy level too and actively participated in sports.

From the month of October, however, her performance in studies started to drop. She couldn’t concentrate in class and after coming home from school, all she wanted to do is sleep. Her parents were thinking that this is just because of some bad influences of her friends and her laziness. They used to scold her. She scored fewer marks in the test conducted in the month of January. After that, she slowly went back to normal study routine and started socializing again. She scored decent marks in her final exam. 

Her parents thought this was just a phase and it is over now as she started doing well in studies. Everything was going fine. But when the same thing happened the next year around the same time of the year, her parents took her to a doctor where she was diagnosed with Seasonal affective disorder. 

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that begins and ends at the same time every year. A person with SAD will start showing the symptoms when winter is approaching and the symptoms will continue till the winter season ends. The symptoms might start with mild but they can be moderate with the season. With time when spring arrives, the days start to get longer and nights start to get shorter -- the person with SAD finds relief from the symptoms and feels less fatigue. 

Symptoms of SAD

The symptoms are more or less the same as depression. A person with SAD might feel these things – 

  • Lack of interest in doing activities that he/she loves doing.
  • Feeling fatigued throughout the day
  • The energy level is always low.
  • Not able to sleep properly but still wants to be in bed.
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless and guilty 
  • Sometimes having self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
  • Craving for foods that are high in carbohydrates.
  • Lack of socialization.

 

Causes of SAD

After many pieces of research, experts have found out that the main cause of SAD is a chemical imbalance in our brain. The two chemicals serotonin and melatonin regulates our mood, sleep, appetite and energy level. 

In winter, when the days are short and the nights are long, it results in an increase in the melatonin level and a decrease in the serotonin level in our brain which causes depression.

Melatonin is responsible for sleep. When the nights are longer there is an increase of production of melatonin in our brain due to which the person feels fatigued and negative throughout the day. They are not interested in doing anything at this time. 

However, serotonin increases when the person is exposed to sunlight. So the person has a lower level of serotonin and high level of melatonin in winter which gives rise to SAD.

Treatment of SAD

Being tired, lazy, change in sleep pattern or appetite change can be the symptoms of other mental health disorders also. To treat seasonal affective disorder, a proper diagnosis from a qualified psychiatrist is very important. If the symptoms are mild then the doctor might not prescribe any anti-depressants and just advice therapy sessions and more exposure to sunlight. But if the symptoms are moderate then medications might be needed with light therapy. 

As SAD has symptoms of laziness, lack of concentration, procrastination etc, people often are confused. Even parents and teachers think that the child is just not trying their best and they continue to scold the child. If you think you are experiencing these symptoms or you know anyone in your friends or family members who are showing these symptoms, then ask them to take professional help from a psychiatrist. 

Be it depression or seasonal affective disorder or any other mental health disorder, all of these can be and should be treated. You just have to be open about sharing this with someone who you think will help you.

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NEXT STORY


Bollywood movies and coping mechanisms

We can be our own heroes by coping with our emotions and our favorite Bollywood movies teach us just how!
Diva Teentalkindia Content Writer

Popular for its idea of love, romance, friendships and lifestyles, Bollywood has played a large role in most Indian’s lives. With almost every Indian hoping to feel the same heroism as the lead character of our favorite Bollywood movies, we often forget that what we do feel are the same emotions as these characters. We face fear, we face anger, we face helplessness, we face stress and we face sorrow. We can be our own heroes by coping with our emotions and our favorite Bollywood movies teach us just how! Here are 6 coping mechanisms from popular onscreen characters to help you cope with your negative thoughts and emotions.

 

Jab We Met - Letting go

Geet makes Aditya let go of the things that bother him by convincing him to burn his ex’s picture and flush it down the toilet. Moreover, she insists that he calls his ex and vents out all his frustration.

Counsellor tip- Sometimes the burden on you can be cleared by venting out. Write your negative thoughts on a piece of paper and flush it down, burn the paper or simply tear it apart. This is a great way to release your emotions.

 

Rab ne bana di Jodi - Pursue your hobby and derive happiness from it

After Taani ends up in an unhappy marriage, she decided to pursue her love for dancing and signs up for a dance competition. This helps her divert her attention from the negative emotions and stress in her life.

Counsellor tip- Follow your hobbies because that is the one thing that guarantees happiness when everything else can’t.

 

Yeh Jawaani Hai deewani - Give yourself a break and enjoy life

“Scholar Naina” is tired of her life. Her social life is sacrificed as a medical student and the pressure to exceed academically. However, an unplanned trekking trip with her friends is all that she needs to release the stress on her.

Counsellor tip- At one point in life it is inevitable to feel overwhelmed by emotions and burned out. All you need is a break from monotony so step out of your homes and make time for nature, adventure and outdoor fun - away from your work desk.

Dear Zindagi - Find a confidant and talk about it

After career and relationship turndowns, Kaira suffers insomnia and depression. However, her life takes a turn when she meets Jug who gives her a new perspective on life which helps her control her emotions, follow her passions and improve her love life.

Counsellor tip - As humans, we tend to hold on to our negative emotions, fears and anxieties. Finding a confidant, talking to them and listening to them gives us a new perspective that is clouded by our negative thoughts. 

 

Gully Boy - Write about your feelings.

Murad, a promising rapper, is forced by his father to work in a white-collar job. He also witnesses his father’s violent ways at home. However, he uses rap as a form of expression and writes about social issues and his life.

Counsellor tip- Use writing as a form of letting go of your emotions. This could be writing music, poetry or simply maintaining a journal to let your emotions flow when the world seems ignorant and helpless. Listening to music will also help you calm yourself and control your emotions

 

Dil Chahta Hai - Use art to express yourself

Sid, a young man, is full of depth and ardor. However, his life takes a crazy turn when he falls in love with a divorced woman much older than himself. Nevertheless, he uses painting to express his emotions and philosophical side when he thinks the world won’t understand him

Counsellor tip- Art is a great form of expressing your emotions and painting your thoughts or scribbling is an essential form of art therapy that can help you heal when nobody else seems to understand you.

 

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