Although the days are slowly getting longer as spring approaches, the month of February is still dreaded by many who have to deal with winter weather. The days are dark, the weather cold, storms often relentless. With these common dreary conditions in winter comes an increase of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or “SAD.”
Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect anyone, but is common among women and people who live farther from the equator where the winter days are longer. It has not been determined what exactly causes SAD, but it is believed that several factors, including a lack of sunlight and an irregular biological clock or disruption of circadian rhythms, may play a role. It is also believed that an imbalance of serotonin, the mood creating chemical in the brain, may also play a role.
Common symptoms of SAD are closely related to depression and may include a continual sleepiness, an inability to concentrate or focus on usual day-to-day activities, a craving of food and carbohydrates, weight gain, feelings of anxiety and moodiness such as being sad or grumpy.
If seasonal affective disorder continues beyond the winter months and causes long-term depression, a victim may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for their mental condition. An applicant for Social Security Disability benefits based on this condition must be able to prove that the condition is expected to last at least a year and that the condition is prohibiting the person from maintaining gainful employment. Applicants must also have the qualifying amount of work credits.
Source: WebMD, “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Topic Overview,” Accessed Feb. 7, 2017