So, summer is over, the leaves are turning golden, and there is a chill in the air…. Sounds idyllic, but for many thousands of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) sufferers, now is exactly when the annual misery begins.
SAD has hit the headlines many times in recent years as awareness grows, but it’s not a new phenomenon. The Royal College of Psychiatrists suggests that for thousands of years, people have noticed that the seasons can affect our mood. It was not until the 1980s, however, that the term Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) first appeared. It is used for people who, although they sometimes become depressed in the summer, regularly become depressed in autumn and winter.
SAD has symptoms much like depression, but it has a clear pattern, starting in Autumn or Winter and stopping in the Spring and Summer. The kinds of things that people might experience include loss of energy, low mood, which is often worse in the morning than later in the day, wanting to socialise less, a kind of need for hibernation, feelings of exhaustion for no real reason, loss of libido and so on.
There are some subtle differences though. In depression, which isn’t related to SAD, people often sleep and eat less; with SAD, they often sleep and eat more. This can make people feel even worse.
So who gets it? SAD is more common in women – about three times more. It’s common enough that many of us can relate to these symptoms, but if your symptoms are bad enough to interfere with your life, you may well have SAD. In the UK, about 3 people in every 100 have significant winter depression.
So how can hypnotherapy help with SAD? Hypnotherapy can help with many conditions that affect our mental wellbeing, and this includes SAD. The techniques I use encourages people to think in new and more positive ways. By means of imagery as well as suggestion, hypnotherapy also helps people who have SAD to change aspects of their behaviour, and refocus their thoughts in more positive ways.
Clients are often surprised and relieved to learn that there are different ways that the symptoms of SAD can be managed and actually enjoy the process!