Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of severe winter depression common in many parts of the country at this time of year. When winter settles in places like Vermont, Illinois, and New York, some people suffer from this condition, which researchers think may be caused by genes, darker days during the winter, and snow.
Year-round sunshine in Hollywood and South Florida can provide natural protection against SAD, so only just over 1% of the Florida population suffers from this type of seasonal depression (compared to 10% of New Hampshire, for example). Sunshine is not a cure-all, however, and thousands of Florida residents still do suffer from SAD symptoms each year. It’s important not to overlook these symptoms and important not to assume you can’t get depressed because you live in the Sunshine State.
Understanding the Symptoms
There are many reasons why you might experience SAD, even though there’s no snow to contend with in Southern Florida and Hollywood. The time immediately after the holiday season can lead to disappointment and stress for many people. The added pressure of returning to work, trying New Year’s resolutions, and generally living life can play a role. In addition, the seasons do change in Florida and can lead to some stress for the body.
Patients who experience SAD can experience a range of symptoms, including
- General feelings of sluggishness and moodiness
- Changes to eating habits and patterns
- Feelings of sadness or depression
- Trouble focusing or concentrating
- Loss of interest in usual hobbies
- Sleep disruptions
Car Accidents and SAD
Unfortunately, if you’re suffering from any seasonal depression, you could be at an increased risk of car accidents in Hollywood or your community, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping or concentrating. If you can’t stay focused because of your condition, you may inadvertently be driving distracted. If you feel fatigued or have sleep disruptions, you could have slower response times or you may even fall asleep at the wheel.
What You Can Do
If you find yourself feeling lowly at this time of year, there are several things you can do to address the issue and prevent car accidents caused by SAD:
- Go outside and exercise. Florida’s sunshine can be a natural cure for SAD, especially when combined with exercise. Hike, walk, swim, or take part in any of the outdoor recreational opportunities Hollywood and South Florida have to offer.
- Seek out social interaction. Spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress and can help with feelings of overwhelm or loneliness. Plan some fun activities with loved ones so you have something to look forward to.
- Pay attention to symptoms and see a doctor if there’s reason to be concerned. If your condition has you avoiding normal activities or experiencing sleep problems, see a doctor right away. You may need medication, and it’s important to take care of sleep disorders before they make you an unsafe driver or put you at risk for workplace injury.
- Eat healthy foods. Sometimes, SAD sufferers crave junk food. However, a healthy diet can help contribute to overall health. Eating too much junk food and sugar, on the other hand, can contribute to feelings of sluggishness, exacerbating some SAD symptoms.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and think you may have a claim, contact Flaxman Law Group. Our attorneys have already secured settlements for thousands of South Florida residents and our offices in Miami, Hollywood, and Homestead serve the entire region. Contact us today for a free, no obligation case consultation.