25 Things You Didn’t Know About SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder—or SAD—might be one of the most appropriate acronyms in medical history. It’s a depressive condition that reflects the ultimate battle between light and darkness—sunshine hidden by clouds, and sunsets happening quicker and sooner than ever. As a result, symptoms usually start in the fall, and subside in early spring or summer.
While it isn’t uncommon for us to mourn the passing of summer and grumble about the upcoming winter, SAD is much deeper than a general discomfort or annoyance. Seasonal depression can often bring intense mood swings and serious side effects, impacting health, everyday life, and even personal or working relationships.
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Although it is one of the most common forms of depression, it is also one of the most misunderstood. Here are 25 things that you probably didn’t know about SAD:
SAD affects nearly ten million Americans
That’s a ton of people. If we look at percentages, this means that 4-6% of the population is seriously affected by the changing of the seasons, both emotionally and physically. Estimates project that as much as an additional 20% suffer from mild symptoms of SAD.
Seasonal depression usually happens between ages 20 and 30
As if navigating through your twenties wasn’t difficult enough, SAD is much more likely to occur throughout these years. It’s a difficult decade of learning how to survive on your own, pay bills, manage debts, and maneuver through changing relationships with family, friends, and significant others.
With so much natural stress and so many changes blanketing this decade, perhaps it makes sense that SAD is much more likely to rear its seasonal head for the first time.
SAD is more common in women
This isn’t terribly surprising, as women are much more prone to any type of depression than men. There are a few key reasons for this: women are genetically predisposed for depression, and they also have greater fluctuations in hormones.
Studies have shown that women are much more invested in the relationships around them, as well as in their own emotions. With constantly changing hormones—here’s looking at you, birth control—and a natural inclination to invest in emotions, it’s no wonder that depression shows up more often.