Does it seem like each year when winter rolls around you feel more tired and anxious than usual? You are not alone. In fact, seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed in 10 million people living in the United States each year.

The condition is fairly common, which is why our team at AFC Urgent Care Springfield wants to share some insight into seasonal affective disorder and its symptoms. Read on as we take a look.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder, often referenced as SAD, is a form of depression that occurs most often during the late fall and winter. It’s thought to be associated with the change in season—and in particular, with the diminished amount of daylight that’s common in the winter.

As with other forms of depression, those who experience SAD will experience a wide range of symptoms that can affect both physical and mental health.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Hopelessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of interest in usually enjoyable activities
  • Appetite changes

Is There a Way to Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If you’ve had SAD in the past, starting to take medication in early fall before the days get significantly shorter may prevent SAD symptoms or, if symptoms do appear, it can reduce their length and severity.

In general, though, there’s no foolproof way to prevent SAD or any other type of depression. You can take steps to lower your risk by practicing healthy lifestyle habits to promote good physical and mental health.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

  • Exercise regularly, aiming for 150 minutes each week.
  • Eat a balanced diet filled with fruits and veggies.
  • Get plenty of quality sleep.
  • Find effective ways to manage stress.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.

Not feeling at your best? Visit our medical team at AFC Urgent Care Springfield for a medical evaluation and treatment plan!