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Mental Health Monday: Seasonal affective disorder

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Mental Health Monday: Seasonal affective disorder – Jan 4, 2021

Everyone’s mood can be affected by weather. But experts warn that if you feel like a completely different person depending on the season, you may actually have a form of seasonal depression.

“Seasonal affective disorder or SAD as it is commonly known, is a kind of depression that appears at certain times of the year it usually begins in the fall when the days start shorter and it lasts throughout the winter,” Jonny Morris told Global News.

Morris is CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division.

According to Morris, 15 per cent of Canadians will experience some form of mild seasonal affective disorder.

Read more: Feeling the winter blues? Natural ways to boost your mood

While it’s not known what causes seasonal affective disorder, it is thought that winter SAD may be caused by a lack of sunlight.

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“Particularly in parts of Canada where we live, low sunlight due to overcast skies or short days,” Morris explained.

But while lack of sunlight may be a driving factor for SAD, your chances of suffering from it may also depend on your genes.

“13 to 17 per cent people who develop SAD have an immediate family member who also lives with SAD,” Morris said.

Read more: Manitoba’s wintry weather set to intensify seasonal affective disorder

Symptoms of SAD can include trouble sleeping, feeling tired and lethargic as well as weight gain.
“Feeling sad, guilty or hopeless are some of the emotions to be on the lookout for,” Morris added.
It’s important to realize that a lot of us are already feeling these emotions because of COVID-19.
With that in mind, Morris suggests that if the feelings last longer than two weeks or start to intensify, people should take action.
Click to play video 'Could your ‘winter blues’ be something more serious?' Could your ‘winter blues’ be something more serious?
Could your ‘winter blues’ be something more serious? – Jan 30, 2020
“One of the first stops is talking with a health professional,” Morris said.
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“Whether that be a physician or nurse, a psychologist a counsellor, really important to knock on the door of one of those professionals.
For more information on seasonal affective disorder, visit here.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

Learn more about how to help someone in crisis here.