Feeling sad? Here’s why you could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s believed that millions of Americans could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also referred to as S.A.D.

S.A.D. is most common in winter in areas far from the equator. Wet and gloomy conditions in the Pacific Northwest are the perfect conditions to exacerbate the diagnosis, and according to some studies, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed.

But why?

Mental Health Counselor Wendy Knowles, with Olympic Mental Health Clinic, told KIRO 7 she believes the reason women are two to four times more likely to have Seasonal Affective Disorder is due to several things.

“I believe there are some pieces in there certainly for women with hormonal fluctuations,” she said. ”We can react a bit more strongly when we do deal with something like seasonal affective disorder I also think that men are much more likely to report and seek help when it affects them.”

While, historically, there’s a stigma surrounding mental health, seasonal affective disorder can affect anyone regardless of their health, age, sex, or ethnicity because the root of it is a biochemical imbalance in the brain and potential deficiencies.

Less sun and daylight hours are leading causes of vitamin D deficiency.

A billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient, including 40% of American adults,” said U.W. Medicine’s diet and nutrition specialist, Morgan Chojnacki. “We can stand on top of Mount Rainier and get sunburned right now, and we still wouldn’t be able to produce vitamin D.”

Before you run to the store to purchase vitamin D supplements, Knowles said you might not see a difference.

“It will raise your vitamin D levels which is better for your body, but you may not see symptoms relief,” she said.

Chojnacki said some foods are said to help with vitamin D deficiencies. Salmon, tuna, dairy products, and eggs could help.

If you’re looking for the right supplements, medicine, food, or alternative treatments, consult your doctor or licensed therapist to review some available options.