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Seasonal Affective Disorder & How It Can Affect Your Smile

Posted March 15, 2018.

Do you often feel sad during the cold months? Do you have a lack of energy during long periods of cloudy or rainy days? You may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that is directly affected by the seasons. If you suffer from SAD, your symptoms will begin and end at about the same time each year. Most people with SAD are affected during the fall and winter months. They become moody and lethargic. However, SAD sometimes causes depression in the spring and early summer.

What Are the Symptoms of SAD?
Whether your seasonal affective disorder symptoms begin in late fall or in spring, the effects usually start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses. Some common symptoms of SAD include, but are not limited to:

– Feeling depressed almost every day
– Feeling lethargic
– Losing interest in things that you used to enjoy
– Having trouble sleeping
– Undergoing changes in your weight or appetite
– Feeling agitated
– Feeling worthless, hopeless or guilty
– Experiencing difficulty concentrating
– Having thoughts of suicide or death

Are There Season-Specific Symptoms?
Those who experience seasonal affective disorder in the winter and fall may experience a few symptoms that spring and summer sufferers may not and vice versa.

If you experience SAD in the fall and winter, you may experience:

– Oversleeping
– Changes in appetite, particularly a craving for foods that are high in carbohydrates
– Tiredness or lack of energy
– Weight gain

If you experience SAD in the spring and summer, you may experience:

– Insomnia
– Poor appetite
– Anxiety or agitation
– Weight loss

What Are the Risk Factors?
Diagnosis for SAD occurs more often in women than in men. In addition, SAD occurs more frequently in young adults than in those who are older. Some other factors that may increase your risk for seasonal affective disorder include:

– Family history – Those with blood relatives who suffer from SAD or another form of depression are more likely to develop seasonal affective disorder.

– Having depression or bipolar disorder – If you already have one of these conditions, your symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally.

– Living far away from the equator – Those who live far north or south of the equator tend to be more likely to develop SAD. This may be because of the decreased sunlight during winter months and longer days during the summer.

Can SAD Affect My Oral Health?
Seasonal affective disorder can negatively affect your oral health because it can disrupt your sleeping habits. When you are not experiencing quality sleep, you may have an increased risk for inflammation in the mouth. This increase of inflammation can mean an increased risk of periodontal disease. A lack of sleep, or a lack of quality sleep, can also increase your risk of bruxism (teeth grinding) during sleep. This can cause damage like unnatural wear to the teeth. Teeth grinding can also cause TMD, or temporomandibular disorder.

We welcome you to contact Andolino Orthodontics PC today to learn more about SAD or to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in New York, New York. Dr. Frank Andolino and our team look forward to serving you!

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