Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which affects nearly 20% of the population, is a lot more than feeling a little down during certain seasons. This form of depression can wreak havoc on someone’s life, causing emotional imbalances, an impaired relationship with food, interpersonal distress, and more. These are five, significant signs that you might be suffering from SAD, along with ways you can treat the symptoms.

A Disturbed Sleep Cycle

If the winter months make you want to curl up under your covers and never come back out, you may be suffering from SAD. It can make you feel lethargic and unable to function in the daytime. This makes you more prone to retreat to the comfort of your bed as frequently as possible. Staying active and getting outside will help fight this urge.

Hunger For Sunlight

Due to the darker, longer days during autumn and winter, many people start missing the sun. If you suffer from SAD, this will hit you harder than others. SAD is centralized around a lack of sunlight, and despite wanting to isolate, you’ll also crave sunlight immensely. Light therapy can often help with this symptom.

Shifts In Appetite

Fall and winter bring plenty of comfort foods with them, but if you have SAD, you may be prone to binge on them. You’ll be drawn to carbohydrates and other fattening foods, potentially causing weight gain and metabolic shifts. While acquiring a few extra pounds during a chilly season is fairly normal, you’re likely to gain more weight with SAD. Maintaining a healthy meal schedule and watching your portions can help you avoid this consequence.

Anxiety And Irritability

If your mood takes a drastic dip in the winter, it’s probably not coincidental. Becoming easily irritated or overwhelmed by simple events are signs that you may be suffering from SAD. As a result, everyday chores can feel extremely stressful and you may become agitated within your relationships. If every task feels like a disaster during winter, take a deep breath and go visit your doctor.

A Desire For Isolation

Going hand-in-hand with oversleeping, SAD will make you want to isolate yourself as much as possible. You’ll likely feel like you have no energy to socialize and distance yourself from friends and family. Engaging with people may feel like an insurmountable chore. However, staying connected while suffering from SAD is uber important to your long-term emotional wellbeing.