Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression, also known as Winter Blues, or Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern. To be medically diagnosed with this condition you must have the symptoms for two seasons in a row, and it should disappear with the change of season. It can be something you only experience with the seasonal changes or it can be an extension of an existing depression that worsens in the winter time.
It begins in the autumn when the days get shorter and the evenings longer, when there are less daylight hours. It can affect more women than men; women are twice as likely to get it. It can start in your 20's, and 3% of the population are affected.
It's associated with deficiencies in brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which can be caused by a lack of sunlight, and deficiencies of melatonin which is essential for mood and sleep.
The lack of daylight can trick your brain into thinking that it is night time during the day and trigger symptoms which can include: fatigue, persistent low mood, feelings of despair, and sadness. Or lack of motivation, joy, excitement, and having no interest in doing anything. You might be sleeping more than usual. Social anxiety can be a huge problem. Appetite can also be affected; you may experience cravings for carbohydrates in particular sugary treats.
Vitamin D is involved in the production of Serotonin and Dopamine-if you are already deficient in Vitamin D and then you have less sunlight hours you will have a decreased production of the brain chemicals associated with mood resulting in the symptoms listed above.
Other supplements that can help include Omega 3 fish oil, Rhodiola, or Saffron.
Getting plenty of daylight is extremely important, go outside as early as possible in the day, take your break and exercise outside when you can. Open your curtains and blinds to let as much daylight into the room as possible. At night make sure your room is as dark as possible. Paint rooms nice bright colours. Talk to someone about how you feel. SAD Light Therapy Lamps are another option worth considering.