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Lay The Smackdown on Seasonal Affective Disorder

posted on November 30, 2022

My friends, welcome to Pittsburgh’s cold and dreary gray season. With this change of season, decrease in sunshine and drop in social interaction, many people feel the effects of SAD. What is SAD you ask? SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder and is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you are like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, zapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves during the fall or winter months.



Here are some signs and symptoms of the dreaded SAD.


  • Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty


Here are 4 signs and symptoms related to Fall & Winter SAD.


  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy


These 4 signs and symptoms are specific to summer onset seasonal affective disorder.


  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite & Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Increased irritability


Some main factors that come into play that may cause seasonal depression are disruption of your internal clock (circadian rhythm), drop in serotonin levels and decreased melatonin production due to the decrease in sunshine.



Have no fear, there are some ways to battle these seasonal blues.

One way is exercise, which can help decrease depression by increasing endorphins, serotonin, and can clear your mind. Exercise can also improve your sleep and energy levels. Your body gets the movement it craves, which can help it relax. Movement is medicine and moss doesn’t grow on a rolling stone. Some other helpful tools to combat SAD are Light Boxes, Behavior Therapy, a well balanced diet, stepping outside to get some fresh air and sunshine or scheduling social get togethers with friends.



Don’t let the lack of sunshine get you down, come drop in to Union Fitness and let us assist you in combating Seasonal Affective Disorder. We can get you moving and grooving.



Stay bright my friends,




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