Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) happens to some people and not to others. If it’s happening to a family caregiver, it can make it hard to help others. Some people don’t realize that seasonal changes can impact their mood. How can you tell if you’re depressed, experiencing caregiver burnout, or in the midst of SAD?

Elderly Care Fair Lawn NJ - What Are the Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Elderly Care Fair Lawn NJ – What Are the Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

What Causes SAD?

SAD is a form of depression that often is linked to the seasons. It’s most common in the fall and winter. When the weather warms up and the sun lengthens the amount of daylight, it eases. It’s believed that changes in the circadian rhythm, melatonin, and serotonin levels all play a part in it.

This is why it’s seasonal. In northern climates, the sun rises later in the morning and sets earlier. Exposure to the sun is limited. Some areas in very northern climates don’t see the sun at all for weeks or months. That greatly impacts serotonin and melatonin levels.

What Are Some of the Symptoms?

If you find yourself feeling down in the wintertime, it could be SAD. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, persistent sadness, changes to weight or appetite, and difficulty concentrating.

While it does affect most people during the fall and winter, that doesn’t mean that people cannot experience it in the summer or spring. If it happens in these months, insomnia, anxiety, and weight loss are the most common symptoms.

Symptoms are similar to those of depression. You don’t feel full of energy or interested in the things you enjoy. Your appetite changes, which can lead to weight gain or weight loss. You might find it hard to get out of bed. It’s also similar to caregiver burnout.

How do you tell the difference? It can be tough. If you are a caregiver to a parent and never take breaks, you need to. You might find it hard to step away or feel guilty if you try to take a day off. You may find yourself just not caring about yourself or the things around you. That can be caregiver burnout.

If you do take breaks, it may be depression. No matter which it is, you should talk to a doctor about treatments for SAD or depression. Find out if there are services for family caregivers that can help you take breaks for self-care.

It’s Important to Focus on Your Emotional and Mental Needs

What do you do if you need to take a break and can’t help your parents? Family caregivers need to take breaks for their mental and physical health. Caring for an aging parent is important but stressful. Elderly care aides can give you the break you need. Call our elderly care specialist to learn more about the available services.

If you or a senior family member are considering hiring Elderly Care Services in Fair Lawn NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today at (973) 427-3553.

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Pamela DelColle, RN, CCRN
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