SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a mood disorder that is common during the winter but can occur at any time of year. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression, but it is considered seasonal based on its annual reoccurrence.
Although scientists are not entirely confident about what causes the disorder, it is often linked to the lack of sunshine during the winter months, providing the body with less serotonin than in the rest of the year.
Those experiencing SAD may feel some of the symptoms of depression, including fatigue, change in appetite, lack of energy, and overall sadness.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is diagnosed in women four times as often as with men. Some women experience symptoms that begin to affect their everyday lives, and those experiencing menopause may feel heavier effects.
Declining estrogen levels may result in mood shifts and depressive feelings. Other symptoms of menopause are similar to those of depression, including irritability, anxiety, and a lack of motivation.
Menopause combined with Seasonal Affective Disorder can cause a lot of emotions in women, and it may seem like a feeling that will never end.
There are coping mechanisms for both SAD and menopause that can help women get through the difficult period. Consider light therapy to regulate circadian rhythms and serotonin within the brain. You can speak to your doctor about the various options for lights in more detail. Exercise and a healthy diet are other great options to increase mood and energy levels. Remaining active during this time can help reduce the symptoms of depression and keep your mind and body healthy.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend an antidepressant to combat your symptoms. There are a lot of options with this type of drug, and it is important to work alongside your doctor to determine the option that best suits you.
If you do experience seasonal affective disorder or depression during menopause, it is important to recognize that you are not alone. Our practice is well-versed in the signs and symptoms of menopause, and we are ready to discuss the right plan for you.