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Is winter the season of romance or it can make you sick? But how real is seasonal affective disorder (aptly known as SAD)?
SAD is often a catch-all term to describe the winter dumps, but experts say it’s often misused and the condition is actually less common than people think.
That diagnosis is different from the lows that many feel during the winter months. In fact, research shows many people overestimate the impact of seasons on their moods in general.
Where is the line between SAD and the simple doldrums? SAD is considered a subtype of a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder, so very small percentages are actually diagnosed with it specifically. In order to meet the qualifications for a SAD diagnosis, an individual must show signs of depression and other symptoms for a minimum of two consecutive years during the same season. It also includes unexplained behavior and mood changes
Experts say making some lifestyle changes such as exercising or keeping good sleeping habits can help. But since it’s not invasive, it also isn’t harmful — except perhaps to your budget.
So if you’re not feeling your usual cheerful self this winter, see your doctor. If he doesn’t diagnose you with SAD, try adding some physical activity to your day and getting regular sleep.
“And remember that spring is just a few months away and cheer up.”