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Ask The Expert - Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Published on Mar 4, 2013

Ask The Expert - Episode 2 - Seasonal Affective Disorder
Email us your questions at asktheexpert@citypsychology.com

In this video we talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), including what it is and how it influences the way that we think, feel and eventually how we function in our lives. Often thoughts pop into our head saying ' 'I always feel down in winter', 'I just feel sad and lazy and want to sleep all the time' and 'why does my appetite change during certain months?' Let's look at all these thoughts and feelings that we may experience during certain months and ways that we can go about not allowing these negative thoughts to impact our lives too much from season to season.

1. What are the winter blues?
SAD is a recurrent experience of depressive mood episodes at particular times of the year. People tend to experience this low mood and sadness in winter time, however on rare occasions some people also experience the summer blues. Features of SAD are fluctuations in energy, sleep and appetite. Generally people can experience increased appetite and crave carbohydrates, leading to a change in eating habits, and as a result weight gain. They may also experience a drop in energy levels and an increased desire to sleep.

2. What is it about the winter that makes me blue?
How we perceive and react to changes in our energy levels, appetite and desire to sleep in winter greatly influences whether or not we experience depressive moods. Some people begin to experience negative thoughts during the lead up to winter, causing them to fear the mood change, which speeds up the depression process.
Then when these changes do occur, the way that we react to them can cause more depressive thoughts and feelings, low mood and even feelings of worthlessness. People then begin to change their behaviour, such as socialising less , not exercising or feeling they can not perform at work.

3. How can I manage my winter blues?
The great thing is that with the help of a psychologist you can learn to adjust and manage these thoughts and behaviours during the winter months. You can learn strategies using therapies such as CBT, ACT and Mindfulness so that you don't let winter negatively affect your life! Basic methods you can use to manage these thoughts are to be aware of your thoughts and not let them influence your behaviour. You can learn to see the thoughts for what they are get on with what matters to you anyway! If you're feeling lazy or tired, ACT and Mindfulness skills can help you find a way togo and do something that you normally enjoy - you don't have to let those thoughts influence you and take over your life!


Credits
Matthew Khawam - www.facebook.com/FilmhousePictures

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