….. finding light amidst the shadows.
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects more than 20,000 people in the UK. In this post, I will explore main features of the condition, what you can do to reduce its impact, and how hypnotherapy can help.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder ?
Seasonal Affective Disorder, (SAD) is a type of depression that generally appears (and later disappears) at the same times each year. These times link to changes in seasons. There are two main types of SAD; winter-onset (which we shall discuss here) and summer onset. Over 20,000 people in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Why does winter onset SAD happen ?
Whilst the exact causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder are unknown it is thought that the impact of reduced levels of sunlight is significant.
This affects your body in three ways:
- Your body clock, which governs all your biological functions, becomes dysregulated. This can lead to feelings of depression.
- The reduced levels of sunlight result in your body producing less serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that raises your mood and concentration levels. It can also help you to feel calm.
- The increased darkness raises the amount of melatonin that your body produces. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to control your sleep pattern. An increase in melatonin will result in your feeling more tired.
What are the symptoms of SAD ?
Seasonal Affective Disorder has a wide range of symptoms including:
- Sleeping longer and later than normal.
- A change in appetite, specifically a craving for carbohydrates.
- Weight gain.
- Reduced energy levels.
- Feeling depressed most of the time.
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy (including socialising).
- Reduced concentration.
- A sense of hopelessness or guilt and/or a lack of self-worth.
- Increased levels of stress and/or anxiety.
What can I do to help myself ?
It is important to consult with your doctor if you believe you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Additional steps to help yourself include:
- Share how you are feeling.
- Actively plan to include relaxation in your daily routine.
- Plan how you can effectively manage your stress and anxiety levels.
- Choose to spend time outside within a natural environment.
- Maximise your exposure to natural light, both by being outdoors and also by sitting near a window when you are inside.
- Exercise daily.
- Plan healthy and nutritious meals.
- Design your living and working spaces so that they are as light filled, well-ventilated and spacious as possible.
Can hypnotherapy help Seasonal Affective Disorder ?
Hypnotherapy, paired with traditional treatments for depression, can reduce your symptoms and enable you to feel more energised and positive.
Through hypnotherapy I can begin to change the way in which you think about and respond to the onset of the autumn and winter months.
I will achieve this by gently planting suggestions in your unconscious mind. These suggestions will enable you to reframe your way of thinking and responding. By changing these responses you will start to view the reduced daylight hours and other seasonal changes in a more positive way, and with greater ease.
As you do so, you will notice a reduction in your Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms and experience an enhanced sense of wellbeing.
Contact me to find out more.