Dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder on the BC Coast
Seasonal affective disorder affects approximately 2 – 3 percent of Canadians. Those who suffer with the disorder notice a dip in their moods that corresponds to the change in the seasons, especially when winter begins.
During the winter season, the days become shorter and we see less and less sunlight. In some areas, such as the BC coast, there is a distinct lack of sunshine during the winter months. Seasonal affective disorder is considered to be a form of depression.
Symptoms of SAD may include:
- Low energy
- Sleep disturbances
- Becoming withdrawn
- Increased cravings for junk food or sugar
- Problems concentrating
For those who suffer from SAD, these symptoms are usually relieved during other times of the year, when there is more daylight.
To obtain a diagnosis in BC, patients will need to see their medical doctor, psychologist, or social worker. A thorough assessment will be done to determine whether you are afflicted with SAD or another condition, as the treatments will be different.
Treatments for SAD can include:
- Light therapy
- Diet Changes
- Environmental Changes (ie. Incorporating as much natural light as possible into your lifestyle).
If you believe you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, seek treatment through your local healthcare team. Many BC residents experience SAD throughout the winter season, especially because of the cold and dark weather on the BC coast.