Hypnotherapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder

How do I know if I have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Do you feel like a bear with a sore head now that the days are getting shorter and darker?

Whilst most of us get a little bit fed up of the cold nights and grey days SAD sufferers experience a far more extreme set of symptoms, that most often include sudden weight changes, low mood, loss of interest, comfort food craving, a generally negative outlook, aches and pains, disturbed sleep and prolonged feelings of tiredness.

SAD, and the milder symptom producing sub-syndromal SAD which is often referred to as the Winter Blues, affects up to 20 of the UK population.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

According to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence “The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year.”

Exposure to Sunlight is one of the ways we top up on serotonin – that wonderful hormone that makes us feel happy and positive – and so on the days with less natural sunlight, we can find ourselves depleted. The majority of people can and do get their serotonin boosts in other ways – through exercise, doing something they enjoy, socialising, helping others and other serotonin boosting activities.

Ironically for SAD sufferers this is the very time of year when they feel that everything is just too much bother and they would rather be under a duvet, with a bar of chocolate and a DVD and, by the way could everyone please go away!

OK, I think I have SAD – How can I be sure?

It’s easy! Take this quick quiz to find out if you might be suffering from SAD symptoms. Think about how you are in the colder, darker, winter months as compared to the summer months:

  • Do you get grumpy if you have no sunshine at all in a week?
  • Would you consider April to September your preferred half of the year?
  • Do you have trouble getting up in the dark?
  • Do you feel like hibernating; not going out or seeing people as much when the nights and mornings are dark?
  • Do you eat more heavy/starchy/sweet foods during the winter months; so much so that you regularly have to do a spring weight-loss program?
  • Do you pick up more bugs or colds or succumb to injury more easily in winter?
  • Do you feel more negative, short tempered, more shy, less confident in the winter?
  • Do you feel more stressed in the darker half of the year?
  • Do you need to sleep more or have disturbed nights in the colder months?
  • Do you feel less attractive and less interested in intimacy and sex in the winter?
  • Do you feel more stressed or unable to cope during the winter months?
  • Do you suddenly feel more positive, for no apparent reason, when the days begin to get sunnier?

If you’ve answered yes more than half of these questions, you are displaying some of the more common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

How can I help get rid of my SAD feelings?

If you’ve done the quiz and have been thinking ‘They are talking about me!’ the great news is that there is help and a great deal of research into the treatment and causes of SAD, including support groups, organisations and more.

Hypnotherapy has been documented as benefitting SAD sufferers, helping them to produce more serotonin through creating a more positive outlook and changing behaviour patterns. Hypnosis works with your subconscious to boost serotonin, reduce sometimes long held negative beliefs, regain enthusiasm and confidence and reframe what winter means to you allowing you to feel more like your summer self!

Check out our favourite SAD-busting tips that might just help you feel more like your usual self, even on the darkest of days.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent. If you would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you get back in the swing of things click here to find your nearest therapist and book your free initial consultation.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.

To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.

Please note: As hypnotherapists we never diagnose issues, we simply help you alleviate the issue as you present it to us. For a definitive diagnosis we advise you speak to your GP or other suitable qualified medical professional.